Doncaster Knights ready to spoil Bristol promotion party

Clive Griffiths
Clive Griffiths

Doncaster Knights will be aiming to spoil Bristol’s party in their penultimate Championship game of the season on Friday night at Ashton Gate (7.45pm).

The pre-season favourites went into last weekend’s fixtures in a strong position on 88 points 13 clear of second-placed Ealing having played a game more.

But they probably expected that they would have to win two of their remaining games to be sure of seeing off the challenge of an Ealing side who could finish the season with 95 points if they picked up bonus point wins in their four games.

Even though they posted a 60-17 win over Nottingham at Lady Bay on Friday they will still have expected to have to wait for the home game against the Knights to claim the crown.

But Knights magnificent 50-19 win over the London side at Castle Park on Saturday meant that, at best, Ealing could only finish on 90 points.

“It will probably be a much different game now that they have won the title than would otherwise have been the case,” said Doncaster’s director of rugby Clive Griffiths.

“Given good conditions it could be a very high scoring game because with the pressure off they’ll play with a lot of freedom and we all know about the quality of their back division.

“We also like to play an expansive game and are capable of scoring a lot of points when we get things right as we showed against Ealing.

“It’s going to be a night of celebration for Bristol, who will be looking to celebrate in style, but we are hoping to rain on their parade.

“We did that a couple of years ago when we beat them down there in the second-leg of the promotion play-off final, though they went up due to a better points aggregate.

“We’ve got a good record at Ashton Gate – we’ve won on our last three visits in the league and cup - so we feel that we’ve got a good chance of another good result down there. Especially if we show the same sort of character that we did against Ealing.

“I said before the Ealing game that we want to try and end what has been a difficult season on several levels on a high and put a smile on everyone’s faces, and that remains the target going into our last two games.”