Any realistic prospect of Doncaster springing a surprise in yesterday’s Tetley’s Challenge Cup fifth round tie at Warrington Wolves were effectively dashed before a tackle had been made.
What was already a massive challenge against a Wolves side which have won the competition three times in the last five years, became mission impossible when the Dons decided to rest four regulars, including influential player-coach Paul Cooke.
The decision underlined the fact that the club’s main priority this season is to retain their place in the Championship in a year when five clubs will be relegated.
Although the result was always a foregone conclusion the Doncaster players did themselves justice on the day, as Cooke hoped would be the case, working hard in defence and producing passages of good attacking play which deserved reward.
The Dons were the first to threaten, good handling giving winger Dave Scot a touchline tilt. Wolves drew first blood on ten minutes, winger Kevin Penny touching down for a try converted by Chris Bridge and they added further converted tries by full-back Matthew Russell and centre Ryan Atkins.
The Dons battled and Scott was bundled into touch just short of the line after several bouts of excellent handling had tested the home side.
Dons looked set to open their account on 33 minutes when second-rower Alex Starling latched on to a dropped pass 25 metres out only to lose the ball in the act of scoring.
Warrington raced into a 30-0 lead with two converted tries in as many minutes by Bridge late in the half.
Wolves carried on from where they had left off with Brad Dwyer going over for their sixth converted try five minutes after the restart.
Dons hit back and there could have had something to show for their efforts had Ryan Wilson held on to Liam Welham’s pass.
Wolves extended their lead through Joel Monaghan, despite the efforts of impressive full-back Lee Waterman.
Bridge left several defenders in his wake when he used his strength to complete his hat-trick and ease side into a 46-0 lead on the hour.
Penny also completed his hat-trick with two further tries. Bridge added his fourth before Evans grabbed Wolves’ 12th and final try at the death with Bridge taking his points tally to a personal best 36 when adding the conversion.
* Dons: Waterman, Scott, Leaf, Welham, Morrison, Wilkinson, Wildie, Spiers, Kesik, Green, Starling, Kent, Robinson. Subs: Edwards,Spaven, Carbutt, Wilson.