Saturday afternoon at Castle Park in Doncaster, it felt as if winter was finally beating a retreat. Not exactly scorching; the sky was hardly cloudless but there was warmth in the air, bringing with it a sense of anticipation. Ealing Trailfinders were the visitors; riding high near the top of the table, the only team still mathematically capable of catching Bristol in the race for promotion, they presented a stern challenge for Doncaster Knights. Several places lower in the league, the home team were coming into the fixture off the back of several defeats.
However the previous day I'd watched an interview with the Knights' Josh Tyrell and he sounded quite optimistic. There was a plan (which I didn't entirely understand, I must admit) and he really believed it was going to work.
And boy was he correct. Big time! Right from the off there was a spring in the step in each of the Knights, together with a steely determination. Much to the delight (and no doubt surprise) of the home crowd, they raced ahead with no less than two tries, from Lloyd Hayes and Cam Cowell.
And so it continued. It wasn't as if Trailfinders were playing badly. Throughout the game they stayed just about in touch with timely scores. But the Knights simply never let up. Andy Bulumakau added a further try before half time to make a score of 21-7 at the break.
I'll point you in the direction of the Knights' official match report for a detailed description of how the match continued but basically the second forty brought more of the same. Not only was the running of the back line sublime, the forwards never gave an inch in either attack or defence. Positional kicking was excellent, most lineouts were won, the scrums worked well and Dougie Flockhart added to the points tally with the boot.
The replacements also played their part, ensuring that the pace and pressure was unrelenting right up to the final whistle as as the Knights reached a half century of points. A superb display against an excellent team which never gave up.
As the song goes, it's been a long, cold, lonely winter. This result, possibly the best performance I've seen from any team this season; certainly the best I've seen from the Knights, was well deserved. A joy to witness - congratulations to all concerned. Here comes the sun, indeed. Here comes the sun!
Click here for a few more shots from this remarkable afternoon: before, during and after the game (though not necessarily in that order).