Batley Bulldogs 12 Doncaster 20: Comeback kings Doncaster secure second away win

Doncaster RLFC's Stewart Sanderson
Doncaster RLFC's Stewart Sanderson
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Dons came from behind again to win on the road for the second time this season.

Paul Cooke’s men have previous when it comes to comebacks, winning 22-12 at Workington on the Championship’s opening day having been 12-0 down.

And they left it late to secure their third win out of four this term at Batley, winning 20-12, with late tries from Nev Morrison and Scott Spaven - sandwiched either side of a Stewart Sanderson penalty - turning this game on its head.

Both sides went into Sunday’s encounter at Mount Pleasant with a record of two wins and one defeat.

Dons were looking to bounce back from a 20-12 home defeat to bogey side Dewsbury Rams after wins over Workington and Keighley.

Batley, meanwhile, came into the match on the back of a surprise 10-8 success at Halifax and were in confident mood.

For the second successive weekend, Dons failed to register a point in the first half as the hosts took a 6-0 lead into the break.

Batley, playing downhill, thought they had broken the deadlock when Alistair Leak crossed the try line, only for the score to be ruled out for obstruction.

Doncaster then went close when Alex Starling intercepted and broke clear, feeding Morrison who was stopped in his tracks just short of the line.

On 25 minutes the Bulldogs made a breakthrough. Ben Blackmore broke the line and the ball was fed to Miles Greenwood who touched down.

Lee Paterson kicked the conversion to give Batley a six-point lead at the interval.

Doncaster were back on level terms shortly after the restart. Cooke himself was held up over the line but, moments later, Spaven crossed the whitewash and Sanderson kicked the first of his three conversions.

Batley went back ahead when a neat offload from Sam Scott sent Alex Brotherton crashing over, with Paterson converting.

But, just like they did at Workington, the Dons came storming back.

In the 68th minute Morrison went over in the corner after a good break from Liam Welham.

Sanderson’s kick levelled the score at 12-12 and the winger then kicked a penalty to nudge the Dons ahead for the first time in the contest.

Cooke’s side then sealed another impressive victory on the road with Spaven’s second try of the game, again converted by Sanderson.

Three wins out of four represents an excellent start for new player coach Cooke.

Dons take a break from league action next weekend when they switch their attention to the Challenge Cup, and an intriguing third round tie away to the British Army.

Batley: Greenwood, Blackmore, Bretherton, Paterson, Finigan, Leak, Leatherbarrow, Smith, Blake, Brennan, Scott, Chandler, Applegarth. Subs: Johnson, Nicholson, Rowe, Aspinall.

Dons: Scott, Colbon, Morrison, Welham, Sanderson, Cooke, Nicklas, Spiers, Spaven, Carbutt, Starling, Kelly, Emmett. Subs: Cunningham, Leaf, Castle, Robinson.