Doncaster Knights can lay claim to being the most promoted side in English rugby union history. Playing at the 5,000 capacity Castle Park, the Knights currently play in the Championship, rugby union’s second tier, after gaining eight promotions in 18 years ascended them from amateur status to the professional game.
Doncaster Rugby Football Club was founded in Doncaster, South Yorkshire in 1875 and spent the first eighty years of its existence playing at numerous sites in the area, including a thirty year spell sharing with the local cricket club. In the early 1950s the club moved to its current site on Armthorpe Road where it has remained ever since.
The Knights tasted their first success in 1979 when they won the Yorkshire Shield. Around this time the club also became a hub for rugby in the area, a reputation it continues today with its amateur, women’s and u7 to u17 teams. The club first entered league rugby in 1987/88 in the tenth tier and gradually worked its way up the divisions thanks to its policy of fielding homegrown youth players.
When the Knights reached the third tier, National 2, they were forced to change tack to a Director of Rugby system, again being rewarded with promotion. The club formally became the Doncaster Knights in 2006 and became a fully professional club in 2009 when National 1 rebranded itself as the Championship. Since then the Knights have mostly been solid in the second division and continue to aim to be a serious contender for Premiership rugby.