Thatto Heath 22
DONCASTER survived an early scare to book their place in the Rugby Challenge Cup fourth round at the expense of brave Thatto Heath Crusaders at the Keepmoat Stadium on Saturday.
Tony Miller’s men, who fell victim to another amateur side at this stage last year, made no mistake this time around and put paid to the challenge of the National Conference Premier League outfit with a 34-22 victory despite falling behind in the early stages.
The visitors broke the deadlock when Andy Stott launched a bomb to the left wing and Darren Woods got the better of Dean Colton to collect smartly before diving over the line.
Shaun Quinn made no mistake with the boot to extend their advantage to six points before the Dons gradually got a foothold in the match.
After Barry McGilvray spilled the ball in an inviting position, Jack Ely bulldozed his way to the line from point-blank range to level after Jamie Bovill was held up initially.
Doncaster were heartened and it was no surprise when they scored their second try.
Quick hands along the line involving Scott Spaven and Mike Emmett paved the way for Stewart Sanderson to dance inside Adam Walsh to cross over in the left corner.
Dons notched their third try when Kyle Kesik jinked his way from dummy-half to burrow his way over from six metres out after some brave resistance from the visitors.
Crusaders gave themselves a lifeline just prior to the interval as Stott’s long pass found Woods, who showed great upper body strength to force his way despite a last-ditch home tackle.
The Dons were rocking after the interval as Woods notched his hat-trick try, shrugging off the attentions of Carl Hughes before racing home.
Quinn almost put the visitors on level terms but his conversion from an acute angle smacked against the post.
Doncaster gave themselves some much-needed breathing space with two scores in four minutes. Good hands from Carl Hughes and Nev Morrison enabled Colton to pace away from his marker to cross in the right-hand corner before Kesik then spotted Mick Butterfield in space who made no mistake from short range.
Kesik’s grubber kick then caught the Crusaders defence flat-footed and Bovill capitalised to pounce on the loose ball to notch the Dons sixth try.
Crusaders had the final word with Dave Hull punishing some weak home tackling to open the way for Carl Frodsham to score a well-taken try.
Dons: Butterfield, Colton, Morrison, Spurr, Wilson, P Hughes, Spaven, Bovill, Ely, Scott, C Hughes, Robinson, Emmett. Subs: Carbutt, Crawley, Kesik, Sanderson.