Doncaster RLFC 20 Batley Bulldogs 38: Dons let lead slip

Dons v Batley action from the Keepmoat
Dons v Batley action from the Keepmoat
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Doncaster RLFC again flattered to deceive as Batley Bulldogs completed a hat-trick of wins over them in yesterday’s Championship Shield clash at the Keepmoat Stadium.

It was the second time this season that the Dons, who led 14-6 at the break, had surrendered a match-winning interval lead against the West Yorkshire club in front of their own fans.

The Bulldogs wasted no time in showing their teeth and Doncaster had to dig deep to deny them an early score.

It was slightly against the run of play when the Dons took the lead on 15 minutes, full-back Dave Scott joining the line in the move which ended with man-of-the-match Liam Welham stepping inside his marker to score. Scott’s conversion hit the near post.

Batley were nailed just short on several occasions before they edged into a 6-4 lead when centre Elliot Cosgrove touched down out wide following some good handling for a try goaled from touch by half-back Scott Leatherbarrow, who kicked well throughout in the blustery conditions.

Big prop Brett Waller celebrated his return after injury when crashing over from close range, near enough for Scott to convert, to earn the Dons a 10-6 lead.

Their decision to run the ball from a penalty in front of goal paid off when second-rower LotoTagaloa forced his way over from close range to secure the Dons - who had built on the improvement shown last time out against Featherstone - a 14-6 interval lead.

But their hopes of a first win in the new competition were dashed as Batley produced a dominant second half display to finish worthy winners.

It could have been a different story, however, had second-rower Mike Kelly not dropped the ball over the line after Batley had pulled six points back with an early try.

Instead of it being 18-12 with the conversion to come, the Dons found themselves trailing 18-14 minutes later – a lead Batley never looked like surrendering.

Batley, who needed the points to boost their hopes of not only avoiding relegation but also keeping their outside hopes of a top-four spot alive, increased their lead to 32-14 with three further tries.

The Dons gave the score-line a more respective look on 69 minutes when centre Danny Cowling sent in winger Tom Hodson with a superb off-load out of the tackle ten metres out.

But Batley had the last word, Ainscough diving over in the corner for another converted try.

Dons: Dave Scott; Hodson,Cowling, Welham, Fox; McLocklan, Wright; Groat; Kesik,Verlinden, Kelly, Musolino, Emmett. Carbutt, Waller, Walton, Tagaloa,

Batley: Craven; Reitte, Ainsough, Cosgrove, Squires; Southernwood, Leatherbarrow; Hirst, Blake, Gledhill, Sam Scott, Day, Brown. Subs: Rowe, Bretherton, Leak, Lillycrop.

Referee: M Woodhead.

Att: 745