DONCASTER came back from the dead to beat Rochdale Hornets 40-36 at Spotland in their final Northern Rail Cup Pool A fixture.
The Dons haven’t had the best of records at Spotland in recent years, and supporters who travelled must have feared the worse when Tony Miller’s injury-hit side trailed 22-0 after just 25 minutes.
Said Dons boss Miller: “We had a lot of changes in the backs, where we were without Dean Colton, Craig Fawcett and Shaun Leaf, and we also had Mick Butterfield on the bench, who I hoped not to use, so we had a lot of people playing out of position.
“We missed out on a couple of early tries and the changes contributed to the fact that we didn’t defend our line well.
“We also lost winger Stu Sanderson, who was playing at full-back, with concussion after about 20 minutes, so we had to bring Mick on and to be fair he did well and scored a try,”
Despite the scoreline, Miller said that he remained confident that the Dons could still win the game: “I’d highlighted the fact in the build-up that I didn’t think that they were as fit as us and I’d said that after 30 minutes we’d take over and that proved to be the case,” he said, “We scored four tries in about ten minutes to get back into the game.
“We got in front in the third quarter but we made it hard for ourselves in the last 20 minutes and we rarely got out of our half. “
We dropped a lot of ball and we had to do a lot of goal-line defence which will stand us in good stead in the weeks ahead. It was a good game for the spectators and it was a good game for us to win to build up momentum even though there was nothing at stake in terms of qualifying for the knockout stages,”
Loose-forward Carl Hughes, injured in pre-season, made his competitive debut for the Dons: “Carl played for the full 80 minutes and to say it was his first game of the season he did well,” said Miller.