Sorry about the heading. Bet it's many a used quip, but couldn't resist. Opted for a break from West Yorkshire rugby yesterday and headed down the A1 to see Doncaster Phoenix play a local derby against Wath-upon-Dearne Rugby Club. According to the club's physio, Wath had begun the season well but then suffered a post Christmas drop in form, losing four of their five previous fixtures. Phoenix, on the other hand, were sweeping all before them, having a 100% win record and thus topping the Yorkshire Division One league table.Sadly for Wath, the game went with previous form. Despite spending periods in their opponent's half, particularly during the second half, Wath were unable to withstand relentless Phoenix pressure, as play after play was broken down and punished mercilessly. The second half try pictured above, scored by Yorkshire U20's Josh Fowler, was one of many; Phoenix coming out well on top with a final score of 64 to 7. You can see more pictures from the match here. Phoenix have the good fortune to be coached by ace motivator Anthony Posa. ickledot first came across Anthony a couple of years ago when the side he was coaching at that time, Beverley, completely demolished Bradford & Bingley by a score similar to the one witnessed yesterday. He had then gone on on to demonstrate how his style of motivation and team bonding regime is total, extending into the post match club house debriefing, with men-of-the match and players making their debuts being required to fulfil certain challenges. Singing and alcohol were involved (allegedly). ickledot next came across him by chance, happening on a Yorkshire U20 match at Skipton in February 2014. It was Anthony who first encouraged ickledot's rugby photography at county level and for that he is most grateful. After all, it led to Twickenham!
So where do the Knights come in? Well, Phoenix play in a most impressive complex in Doncaster which is also the home of Doncaster Knights. Yorkshire has no Premiership side currently (a miserable situation which really should be put right) but Doncaster Knights are one of three Yorkshire teams in the next league down: the Championship.
As it happened, they were playing at home too yesterday and some careless person had left the gates open. So ickledot was able to catch the final significant minutes of their match against Bristol. Significant because the home side was 20-0 down with those minutes still to go. In the remaining time they scored two tries, converted one and conceded one, making a final score of 12-27. And ickledot left with his first photos of a Championship game! There are a few more here.