IT PROVED a case of third time lucky for Workington Town in yesterday’s crucial Championship One promotion clash against Doncaster at the Keepmoat Stadium.
In a game where the Dons, who had twice beaten Town in hard fought games this season, needed to be at their best in their bid to pip the Cumbrians and Keighley for second spot, they fell well below the standards they have set themselves this season and crashed to their biggest league defeat of the campaign.
Town took a third minute lead when hooker Jack Pedley charged over from close range for a try converted by veteran half-back Darren Holt.
The Dons came more into the game but their forwards found it hard to make much ground against the bigger Town pack.
The Cumbrians increased their lead on nine minutes with a 20-metre Holt penalty after the Dons had been penalised for a high tackle.
Workington had looked impressive in the first 15 minutes, but the Dons hadn’t helped their cause by making a number of unforced errors and giving away needless penalties.
The Cumbrians continued to look the better side and, after scrum-half Scott Kaighan had been held just after he had sprinted through a gap ten metres out, full-back Brett Carter touched down in the corner on 17 minutes for a well-taken individual try to leave the Dons trailing 12-0.
Full-back Mick Butterfield, one of the few Doncaster players to do himself justice on the day, was held just short in the corner on 21 minutes after joining the line wide out and running strongly for the line.
Town were in again on 26 minutes, winger Elliot Miller kicking on from Holt’s clever kick and diving over in the corner. Holt’s touchline conversion made it 18-0 and the signs were already looking ominous for the Dons.
The Dons badly needed to score next to keep them and Butterfield, who had been tackled a couple of metres out a minute earlier, dropped the ball over the line in the act of scoring on 33 minutes.
The Cumbrians, who were coming off their line quickly, had proved as strong in defence as with ball in hand in the first half.
The Dons worked an overlap on the left in the Town 20 in the last minute of the half but Town’s scrambling defence somehow kept their line intact.
Town drew first blood after the interval, Kaighan holding off the cover on a 15-metre run to the line after Miller had broken the line. Holt added the extras to leave the Dons with the proverbial mountain to climb.
Prop Dom Dee was held just short, but generally the Dons were lacking the someone with a key to unlock the Town defence with their kicking game being too predictable and often ill-judged.
Holt extended Town’s lead with a 53rd minute drop goal.
Prop Kris Coward grabbed a controversial fifth try for Town on 64 minutes which Holt goaled to make it 31-0.
Pedley added to the Dons embarrassment when touching for his second converted try on 72 minutes after Town had capitalised on some weak defence in the build-up.
Dom Dee rounded off a bout of good handling to score a consolation converted try at the death. The Dons last league game at Gateshead in a fortnight’s time is unlikely to cause them problems but they would look to have it all to do in the next month’s play-offs.
DONS: Butterfield, Coady, Spurr, Morrison, Sanderson, Fawcett, Spaven Scott, Paul Hughes, Crawley, Robinson, Edwards, Emett Subs: Kesik Hughes Carbutt, Dee.