Doncaster Knights: A New Season Beckons

Well, it's been more than three weeks since ickledot last posted on this site. Almost unforgivable but there is a little bit of an excuse - a holiday in the USA! An epic trip from New York all the way to Lake Tahoe in California. More of that in a future post but this one's all about a return to the game featured in the majority of posts: rugby union. Here in the UK a new season is just around the corner and many teams are involved in a round of pre-season friendlies.

Mat Clark 

Doncaster Knights have three such games before their season opener at London Irish on 3 September. The first of these was against Aviva Premiership side, Newcastle Falcons, and the second came on Saturday, an international fixture with Rugby Canada. Unfortunately the Falcons had come out on top in the first encounter so the Knights were looking for a better outcome on their second outing.

Tyson Lewis latches on to a chip before touching down

They began brightly, enjoying a good deal of possession and marked superiority in the scrum. Tyson Lewis was first to cross the line after latching onto a cross-field chip from Simon Humberstone. This was followed not too long after with a try from hooker Ben Hunter who showed a good turn of early season speed, running all of 22 metres before diving over. 

Ben Hunter on the move

Canada were far from overwhelmed though, almost scoring themselves following an interception in midfield. Penalties brought points and at half time they were trailing by a mere four: 10-6.

Glen Young almost there

Knights' pressure continued during the second half but the Canadian defence was dogged and the score remained unchanged until a penalty for the visitors brought their deficit down to one. The home side were finally able to match their superiority with points when Glen Young kicked and chased a dropped ball, finally touching down, almost directly in front of ickledot as it happened.

The final score was 20-16. You can see a more detailed account of the game on the Knights' website and Rugby Canada's website, with more pictures from the game over on Flickr.

Canada's Matt Heaton - airborne tackle

Should also mention that Matt Heaton (formerly of Otley and playing next season for Darlington) played in this fixture. After the game he told ickledot that the summer with Canada had been most successful for him as he'd won two international caps. The current Canadian tour continues with a fixture against Ulster on Friday.

Michael Heaney: A late run in the rain

ickledot is delighted to report he'll be continuing to photograph the Knights this season; mostly at home but occasionally away too. Can't wait!

An Exeter Chief about to meet a Newcastle Falcon

Actually, this wasn't the first rugby photography of the week. Last Wednesday ickledot made the trip down to Warwick School to cover an U18 Premiership Academy tournament. It was a great experience. The standard was as high as the enthusiasm of both players and spectators. the weather was pretty spectacular too.

A Sale Shark moves into top gear