Bank holiday weekend and so there was very little rugby going on around the county - everyone probably having a rest between preseason and 'the real thing'. Doncaster Knights were in action though; a return preseason fixture with Newcastle Falcons. A stiff test for the Knights in this final rehearsal before the real campaign begins with a trip to Jersey next Saturday.
It was great to be back at Castle Park on the last Saturday in August, a bright and warm afternoon. The Knights squad had a number of familiar faces but there were new ones on show as well. Perhaps the most significant newcomer was the magnificent pitch which shone in the bright sunshine. A mixture of real grass and hi-tec synthetic material, it's designed not only to look good and be great to play on but also extremely hard wearing and durable. Like the team that's going to play on it, hopefully. The ground staff have been working to get it ready throughout the close season and its condition now is a credit to them.
The Knights took an early lead and were soon 10-0 to the good. The Falcons side included many of their younger squad members but they still competed well and remained a threat all the way through the game. Although the Knights were never able to quite make the game safe, they did keep the lead throughout, finishing with a score of 35-26. It was great to see a mixture of established favourites and new blood getting onto the score sheet. You can read a more detailed report of the game on the Knights' website.
Good also to report that the Olympus OMD-E1 Mkii with long lens continued to perform well, producing quite a number of pleasing shots. Further practice is needed to get the continuous focus just right and also to time the switch to a shorter lens better when play gets closer. For the second weekend the number of 'keepers' from the two cameras was just about equal. You can see more pictures of the game over on Flickr.
So, all being well ickledot will be back at Castle Park in a couple of weeks time when the opponents will be local rivals Rotherham Titans. And then it will be for real!