Doncaster AC to join British Athletics League

Doncaster Athletic Club chairman Kev Lincoln
Doncaster Athletic Club chairman Kev Lincoln

Doncaster Athletic Club has accepted an invitation to join the British Athletics League.

The Keepmoat Stadium club’s men will compete in BAL Division Two next year.

Doncaster narrowly missed out on qualifying for British League status at a meeting in Nottingham in September.

But Gateshead Harriers’ resignation from the league and Mansfield’s merger with Derby has given Doncaster the chance to compete at elite level.

“Gateshead dropped out for financial reasons and Mansfield have merged with Derby and as we were third in line we got the offer,” said chairman Kev Lincoln.

“We’ve just missed out a couple of times (in the promotion meeting) but on paper we feel we’ve got good strength in depth.

“We’ve had a few of our top athletes go off to university over the last couple of years but we can actually call them back on invitation.

“With the meetings being all over the place it shouldn’t be too difficult for them to get to most of them.”

Among the university students set to feature next season are the likes of England U20 international steeplechaser Bertie Houghton and top sprinter Ransford Anthony.

“We’d be interested in hearing from anyone else who’d be interested in competing for us on an invitation basis,” said Lincoln.

Although delighted with the prospect of taking on some of the biggest clubs in the country – which has far surpassed initial targets when the club moved to the Keepmoat - Doncaster’s ambitions do not stop there.

The club has also got their sights on securing British Women’s League status.

“We’ve got some good young females coming through and I would think within two years they should probably be ready to compete at British League level as well,” said Lincoln.

He added: “Obviously being a British League club is going to involve a lot of change in different areas but we are just going to see how it goes in the first year.

“Membership will obviously incur extra costs, not least because of the extra travelling involved.

“Financially we are okay at the moment but obviously any sort of sponsorship at this level would be helpful.

“As I say, there will be changes.

“But the idea is that we go through the first season in the British League and see what coaching we have available within the club and then evaluate what additional coaching we might need from elsewhere in the future.

“But I think the fact that the coaches of the athletes who moved away are still at the club will act as an incentive for previous first-claim athletes to come back and resume training with the coaches who they grew up with.”

Although the make-up of the six-strong division has yet to be finalised, Doncaster officials are hoping that they are one of the four clubs to be allocated a home fixture.

“We’ve got the facilities to host a meeting at this level though we would need an eight-lane track to do so where we to be promoted to Division One in the future.” said Lincoln.