Congratulations and a predictable headline for the Donny R’sonists who surprised many, including themselves, to lift the Cass McLaughlin Shield at the weekend. The long running Doncaster Rovers Supporters’ team participated in the six team 11-a-side charity tournament held at Worksop Town’s Sandy Lane ground on Sunday and after a long hard slog across four thirty minute matches the R’sonists triumphed to return to Doncaster with the trophy.
The Cass McLaughin Shield was a charity football tournament held to raise money for the charity Rainbows, which looks after children and families who have been affected by severe illness and also help families come together in the more serious cases of such illnesses. Unfortunately the tournament’s founder himself passed away in the past year, but an ex-member of Sheffield United Supporters’ team the InterBlades took over the organisation of the event and extended an invite to the Donny R’sonists to participate. The invite alone is testament to the high regard which the R’sonists are held for their sporting conduct and approach amongst their fellow supporters’ teams.
The six participating teams were permitted squads of up to 16 players, but injury, and unavailability meant that the R’sonists bowled into Worksop with just a squad of 13 to play their two group games. The first match pitched the R’sonists against McLaughlin United and though the Donny lads dominated they struggled to find a way past the impressive United ‘keeper until late in the game when Marc Cartlidge popped up with a well taken goal for a 1-0 win. The pleasure did not come without some pain though as defender Paul Buckle suffered a hamstring injury leaving the R’sonists with just 12 men for the rest of the tournament.
Next up for the remaining dirty dozen were a decent E.M.U.S. team who raced into a two goal lead, thanks in part to a couple of wayward challenges, full-back Louis Bailey rumoured to have been distracted by the burger van at a crucial moment. However the R’sonists hit back as Cartlidge struck again, curling a glorious finish on the turn to bring Donny back into it, but alas an equaliser eluded them. Still the earlier win was enough to put the R’sonists into the semi-finals.
With legs tiring the semi-final against Netherton United was an evenly matched contest with neither side able to make the breakthrough in half an hour sending the game straight to penalties, with just three kicks each before sudden death. The R’sonists showed a cool nerve with Matt Harriman, Marc Cartlidge and Alan Brown all tucking their spot-kicks away and the accuracy continued into sudden death with Andy Sheldrake, Rob Newton and Paul Cuffling all scoring before Pete the keeper saved, to ensure the R’sonists progressed 6-5 on spot-kicks.
Onto the unexpected final then and the remaining shell of the R’sonists took on Gainsborough Town. With tired legs amongst a small squad Donny spent the majority of the game fending off attacks with occasional attacks on the break. Despite a virtual seige in the final five minutes the R’sonists held out until the final whistle to send the game into extra-time. Still goalless in the final minute of extra-time and the R’sonists were gettings et for another shoot-out when they broke away and a sublime chip from Christian Barker won the game and the tournament for the R’sonists.
After some very moving speeches on the motivation for the tournament and the causes it supported the R’sonists were presented the trophy, providing a very enjoyable end to what has been quite an active season for the supporters’ side. Congratulations and thanks to Matt Smith for steering the side to victory and providing me with the tournament details. Next up for the Donny R’sonists is the annual WorldNET tournament at Leeds University in July.
Man of the Tournament: Matt Harriman, great defending and inspirational leadership
Goal of the Tournament: Marc Cartlidge vs E.M.U.S.
R’sonists Squad: Pete the keeper, Louis Bailey, Alan Brown, Paul Buckle, Matt Harriman, Andy Sheldrake, Paul Cuffling, Ian McKenzie, Christian Barker, Rob Newman, Marc Cartlidge, Matt Smith, Callum Reed