Doncaster take 1895 Cup derby out of town

Doncaster chief executive Carl Hall has offered an explanation behind the decision to take their upcoming match against Sheffield to Featherstone.

The South Yorkshire rivals meet in the last eight of the 1895 Cup on Wednesday 26 June.

And Hall says the club had no option but to take the game away from the Keepmoat and, ultimately, out of Doncaster, having explored other venues in the town, including Doncaster Knights RU.

He said: “In recent years we’ve been able to play on the athletics pitch here next to the Keepmoat Stadium, but I’ve been over with our ground staff and it’s simply not safe to play on.

“I had conversations with Clive Griffiths and Lee Blagden at the Knights about using Castle Park, they’d have loved to have had us but their pitch is also being worked on which means they simply cannot make it available.”

Hall explored other options in the town, but none meet minimum standards.

“We need strong floodlights and a minimum number of seats as well as a few other things, which our local clubs can’t provide – we’d love to be able to go and play down at them.

“We actually spoke to the Eagles before the draw because if they had been at home against us they would have looked for us to host, as their ground is not available, while their previous game in the competition was at Halifax but they had to play at Keighley because their pitch was being worked on.

“It is frustrating for all of us and I will apologise to fans for asking them to head over to Featherstone for such big game, but please spare a thought for the players and staff as all you ask for going into the draw is a home tie and we’re not able to take full advantage.

“I promise supporters that we are looking at all options that could provide a longer-term solution so that we can keep games in the area when the main Keepmoat Stadium pitch is being worked on, but it won’t be an overnight fix.”

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