Dons on verge of cup exit

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DONCASTER’S hopes of making it through to the knock-out stages of the Northern Rail Cup were all but derailed by Sheffield Eagles in their penultimate Pool B game at the Keepmoat Stadium.

The Dons need to beat fourth-placed Hunslet Hawks by more than 12 points at the South Leeds Stadium in their final game on Sunday and for Barrow to come away empty-handed from Whitehaven and for Workington Town not to pick up a win at Swinton Lions to claim the final qualifying spot.

The Championship side, who led 40-0 at the interval, ran in 10 tries against their derby rivals as they posted a 56-12 win.

Dons’ boss Tony Miller took defeat on the chin.

“The game was over by half-time and they were head and shoulders above us. They were too quick for us and their half-backs controlled it and we couldn’t get up to the pace of the game.

“We had a few players out, and the players who came in could have done better, but that’s no excuse and I’ve no complaints about the result, Sheffield deserved it. They caught us on the fringes and they were clinical and had a lot of push and good structure and they looked a good side.”

Hopes had been high that the Dons would at least test Mark Aston’s side after running them close in their pre-season game.

“I don’t think that we did ourselves any favours with some of the things we did. We got in some good positions at times and took the wrong options. We’ve worked on the structure all year but for some reason it broke down today so that’s something we need to re-visit.

“It didn’t help that we had to make enforced changes and we missed full-back Mick Butterfield getting us on the front foot. I thought we did better in the second half and scored two late tries, but did Sheffield’s level of intensity drop (with the game won)? I don’t know.”