Doncaster Knights have a secret weapon for tomorrow’s trip to Nottingham – Graham the bus driver.
The one common denominator in impressive road wins at Jersey, Yorkshire Carnegie, Bedford and Cornish Pirates this season – aside from hard work and disciplined rugby – is the fact that they’ve got lost en route to the ground every time.
“It’s got to be our lucky bus driver – Graham,” laughed Knights’ full-back/winger Dougie Flockhart.
“He always misses the turn-off and we then have to drive around for another 20 minutes getting back to where we were.
“We’re going to get him to drive us round Armthopre before home games it’s working out that well for us!”
Flockhart, his team-mates and the Knights coaching staff know it will take more than a lucky omen to get a result at Nottingham tomorrow.
For as well as Doncaster have played in the British and Irish Cup – winning six games out of six to secure the No 1 seeding going into the quarter-final – they are on a slide down the Championship table after their impressive start.
Clive Griffiths’s side won three of their opening five games in the league before coming unstuck and losing three straight in between the two blocks of B&I Cup fixtures.
“The B&I Cup has been great for us in terms of building momentum and giving guys game time,” says Flockhart, whose Doncaster side sit ninth in the league, with Nottingham fifth.
“We are happy with where we finished and look forward now to playing Munster A in the last eight next month.
“We need to take that form and momentum now into the Championship.
“This season we’ve probably picked up more points where we didn’t expect to pick up points –like Jersey and Yorkshire – and lost some points where we probably should have earned more.
“We’re below where we feel we should be as a squad, but we have already come up with some big wins and have to keep doing that.
“Every team knows that we’ll be ready for them and we’ll give them a helluva game every time.
“We are always confident in our ability and we’re not scared of any team.”
Flockhart has been one of the shining lights of the Knights’ season.
He was nominated for the Championship’s player of the month in September and also earned a call-up to the division’s select team that played Canada at Worcester in October.
All this while combining his playing role with that of the Castle Park club’s strength and conditioning coach.
“I really enjoy that side of the game,” says Flockhart of a role that is growing in the top two tiers of English rugby.
“It’s rewarding to see the team match clubs like Worcester and Bristol in terms of fitness and strength and conditioning in the 80 minutes of a game.”