DONCASTER continue to make the running at the top of Championship One after completing back-to-back victories over visiting Rochdale Hornets.
But their overall performance failed to reach the heights of their near faultless display in their 38-6 win at a wet and windy Spotland a week earlier.
Trailing 26-4 at the break, and seemingly out of the game, Hornets scored 16 points during an eight-minute purple patch at the start of the second half.
Although that was as close as they got, the Dons were never as dominant throughout the half as they had been in the first half.
Hornets’ pride had clearly been hurt by last weekend’s defeat and there was an early let off for the Dons when Rochdale stand-off Paul Crook dropped a pass less than 10 metres out after looking a likely scorer after winger Dean Colton had fumbled a kick by scum-half Chris Hough.
The Dons rode their luck and took the lead on seven minutes when the ball was moved out to the right, after Mark Castle and Dean O’Loughlin had been held inches short, and Colton cut in from the flank to score.
Tom Hodson’s conversion came back off the post.
Hornets, who won the corresponding game last season, drew level on 15 minutes, winger Dale Bloomfield squeezing in at the corner from close range.
Ross Spiers wasted no time in making an impact after coming off the bench, running strongly to the line and then having the strength to ground the ball despite the attention of a couple of defenders. Hodson added the extras to make it 10-4.
The Dons were in again two minutes later. Colton touched down for his second try out wide following some excellent handling down the line, which has become something of a trademark this season, to make it 14-4.
Chris Spurr was held on his back over the line but it only proved a brief stay of execution for Hornets as hard-working hooker Kyle Kesik drove over from close range for a 29th minute try goaled by Hodson.
Second-rower Craig Lawton’s flicked pass sent scrum-half Craig Fawcett racing in for another converted try to make it 26-4.
Hornets, as they had done at Spotland, started the second half with all guns blazing, and quickly cut the deficit to just six points with tries by Bloomfield, centre Dean Gorton and full-back Paul Taylor, two of which were converted by Crook, in the first eight minutes.
The shell-shocked Dons hit back with Spurr powering his way over in the corner for a 51st minute try superbly converted from touch by Hodson.
But if the home fans expected normal service to be resumed they were to be disappointed and it wasn’t until full-back Mick Butterfield forced his way over from close range in the 66th minute that they could start to relax.
Fawcett bagged his second try two minutes later, hacking the loose ball on from 35 metres out after Lawton’s pass to him had been knocked down, and gathering to score. Hodson added the extras to leave Hornets trailing 42-20.
Both sides were reduced to 12 men after the exchanges had became heated.
The visitors grabbed a fifth try with Crook, who also added the extras, putting second-rower Chris Baines over.
The Dons had the final word - Hodson touching down for a late try he also converted.
Dons: Butterfield, Colton, Cowling, Waterman, Hodson, Cooke, Fawcett, Castle, Kesik, O’Loughlin, Spurr, Lawton, Edwards: Subs: Emmett, Spiers, Powley, Welsh.
Referee: P Brooke.