Doncaster Knights go into tomorrow’s derby with Yorkshire Carnegie having put another piece in place for next season.
The Castle Park men, who are seeking to cement a spot in the promotion play-offs for the second successive season amid growing pressure from Cornish Pirates and Jersey outside of the top four, have extendeed the contract of one of their longest-serving players.
Club captain Matt Challinor has signed a deal to play for an eighth season with the Knights in 2017-18.
The 32-year-old forward, who joined from local rivals Rotherham Titans in 2010, has made more than 180 appearances for the club, including 17 this season, and will look next season to join current team-mate Dougie Flockhart and coach Glen Kenworthy in the Knights’ exclusive 200-appearance club.
Challinor is the fifth player to commit his future next season to the Knights, following similar deals for Alex Shaw, Mat Clark, Paul Jarvis and Michael Heaney.
Four of those are in the matchday squad tomorrow – Clark is injured – as Clive Griffiths names an unchanged team for the third successive game.
Full-back Jarvis makes his 100th appearance for the Knights.
Assistant Francis Cummins, who has spent time on the opposite coaching staff, said: “We go into our second game against Carnegie in better form than we did when we went up there earlier in the season (and lost 24-6).
“The disappointment of that game was it was a winter’s night up at Headingley and we didn’t feel we played our game. We didn’t show enough on the day.
“It’s always special to play other Yorkshire teams.
“They’re 1-0 up on us at the moment so we’re determined not to make it two.
“Confidence is good and we’ve got some healthy bodies.”