Final game of a turbulent season for Doncaster Knights on Saturday afternoon. Though the weather was hardly spring like there was a healthy crowd in attendance, bolstered by those also watching or taking part in an earlier junior tournament and a number of functions in the various suites. Jersey Reds were the day's visitors and it was pleasing to see so many of their supporters had made the long journey north.
Though separated by only a couple of places in the league, Jersey made the better start with a try though the Knights were able to balance the scores with a push over score of their own from Matt Challinor. From then on however, things went the way of the visitors so they were fairly comfortably ahead with ten minutes to go.
Before the match a team photograph had been on the suggested so, being at the far end of the ground in terms of where the players entered and departed the pitch, on 70 minutes I made my way back to be prepared. Of course, I was then at the opposite end to the one which the Knights were attacking - but they wouldn't score would they? Oh I of little faith. You guessed it, they only went and scored two tries which brought them back within a point of their opponents. And I was a mere distant observer.
I was up close for a couple of last minute Jersey attacks, one of which resulted in a penalty, kicked to give a closing score of 26-30 to the visitors. You can read a more detailed and accurate report of the game on the Knights website.
Once the handshakes had happened and the dust settled, there was more of an end of term atmosphere as members of both teams chatted among themselves or with spectators. The team photograph didn't happen but there were a number of players who were keen to have a picture or two, either to commemorate the season's end or due to the fact that this was their last match with the club.
Along with some who had been with the Knights a relatively short time, some players who'd been at the club for several seasons had played their final game at Castle Park. These included veterans of the remarkable season a couple of years ago when the Knights made it all the way to the Premiership play-off final and that unforgettable night in Bristol.
As I've said many times, I admire anyone who steps over that white line to play rugby. But these players went the extra distance to score tries, make tackles, kick, pass and achieve victories which I will certainly remember for a long time. I also thank them for allowing me to be there with a camera. Speaking of which, you can see more pictures from the game here.