Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Rugby League in Doncaster


Below is an extract from an article that appeared in Issue 39 of Rugby League Journal.

When I first played at Bentley Amateur Rugby league Club, we changed at Tatters Field the Doncaster Rugby League Club’s ground in a block of changing rooms that had been built for both Doncaster and Bentley to use. The dressing rooms were very cramped and I remember we often struggled to find our way to the bath when the lights on the corridor were not working, something that happened regularly. I think in those days dressing room maintenance was not a very high priority for a professional club that seemed in constant crisis. Bentley was the strongest amateur club in Doncaster at the time, and a number of players from Bentley had played regularly for Doncaster. When the ‘Dons’ had a player shortage, Bentley players would often be asked to play. When our team mates did play for Doncaster, I was amongst a number of players from the club who would go along to watch them in action. Standing on the crumbling terraces at Tatters Field on a Sunday afternoon wasn’t a very uplifting experience. Doncaster usually struggled to compete on the field and for the guys we had gone along to support I imagine it was probably an even worse experience. In fact, the highlights I remember most were more to do with the banter exchanged between players and spectators when the teams were lining up for the kick off after yet another try had been conceded by the ‘Dons’. Some of the banter was good natured but there were the occasional threats issued by angry players who said that they would see whoever had abused them after the game. I doubt that the threats of retribution were ever carried out. Most sensible spectators in attendances as small as Doncaster’s  would only abuse opposition players who would be happily picking up winning money and after the game would have probably forgotten about any abuse they received from the terraces.

Doncaster now play at the Keepmoat Stadium, a modern facility at the other side of town. Below is a photograph of the overgrown 'brownfield' site where Tatters Field once stood. If you look closely you can see a bank on the left hand side of the photograph, all that remains of one of the terraces.



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