DONCASTER DONS: Title-chasing Dons on the verge of promotion

Paul Cooke
Paul Cooke
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Doncaster 22 Workington 6

DONCASTER closed in on promotion from Championship One after a resounding victory over second-placed Workington Town at the Keepmoat Stadium last night.

The win kept the Dons title hopes alive and avenged their biggest league defeat of the season (45-18) at Derwent Park in May.

In a suprisingly one-sided contest, the foundations for Doncaster’s victory were laid by the forwards, where every man played his part, none more so that prop Mark Castle.

Half-backs Paul Cooke and Craig Fawcett took full advantage of the space afforded them by the forwards’ dominance to run the show.

The Dons, who had led 18-0 at one stage in their last meeting, drew first blood with Cooke, who added the extras, putting skipper Craig Robinson over from close range.

There was a let off for Tony Miller’s men on nine minutes, former Super League winger Mark Calderwood dropping a try-scoring pass a couple of metres out.

The Dons had enjoyed the better of the first quarter with prop Mark Castle regularly testing the Town defence with some strong runs.

Cooke squeezed through a narrow gap in the Town defence five metres out and had the strength to ride a tackle and get the ball down. His successful conversion made it 12-0.

Cooke extended Doncaster’s lead to 14-0 with an easy penalty just before the break after Town had infringed in the tackle. He also hit the target with successful kick from 35 metres after a late challenge on Castle.

Leading try-scorer Lee Waterman went in from close range early in the second half.

Cooke’s conversion left the Cumbrians trailing 22-0 and needing to score four converted tries to win.

They never looked like doing it and it was the Dons, who had two tries disallowed in the third quarter, who continued to dictate with Town only rarely threatening until Peter Lupton crossed on 76 minutes to grab a consolation converted try. But the visitors missed out on a bonus point.

DONS: Waterman,Colton, Spurr, Cowling, Sanderson, Cooke, Fawcett, Castle, Kesik, O’Loughlin, Robinson, Kelly, Emmett. Subs: Powley, Hughes, Rowe, Spiers.