Unbeaten Knights prepare for toughest test

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Doncaster’s unbeaten start to the National One season comes under its sternest examination yet when ambitious Fylde roll into town.

The Lancashire club are on an upward trajectory and have begun life in the third tier with three wins from four.

Doncaster, the team everyone wants to beat having been relegated from the Championship, have so far managed to avoid that fate in claiming bonus-point wins in all four of their games.

“It looks like it’s going to be a humdinger,” said Knights director of rugby Clive Griffiths.

“They’ll come here with a full-on attacking attitude, with the mentality that if we score four tries, they’ll score five.

“But we want to play as expansively as we can.

“Fylde are a really good club and this is a great test for us.”

Wharfedale are hoping lightning strikes twice when they host high-flying Esher.

The Greens earned one of their results of the season last term when they defeated the Surrey club on home soil.

“We certainly won’t be making it easy for them again,” said Wharfedale coach Jon Feeley, whose side earned their second win of the campaign at Tynedale last week and sit comfortably in mid-table.

“They came up early so they’re taking the fixture seriously, but for us, it’s about concentrating on what we do.

“We’re lacking consistency at the moment and unfortunately Joe Donkin is unavailable after forming a good partnership in the centre with Christian Geourgiou.

“Luke Gray is also out but it’s a good test of where we are.”

Hull Ionians are learning fast how sizeable the gulf is between National Two North and National One.

The Brantingham Park club have yet to win on their maiden season in the third tier, and head coach Gary Pearce is understanding of the challenges his young side are facing.

“The step up is massive and we’re still coming to terms with that,” said Pearce, whose side visit Henley today.

“Our forwards have adapted really well but we’re finding the back play to be another level completely.

“We’ve got a very young back division and when we make an error we’re getting punished for it every time.

“We’re scoring enough points (63) but we’re just vulnerable.

“We are learning as we go and hopefully that first win is not far away.

“We are improving as a group and we will get better because we’re a young side. We’ve got Henley and then Blaydon at home, two teams who we need to show our mettle against.”

Hull host Harrogate in National Two North in a battle between two teams searching for a first victory.