Coventry Bears 20 Doncaster RLFC 32: Dons back on track
Doncaster RLFC got back to winning ways in League One when beating Coventry Bears 32-20 in their first ever meeting at the Butts Park Arena.
But not before the Bears, yet to beat a Northern-based side since joining the league last season, had posed a few problems as they had for Keighley a week earlier.
Certainly Dons boss Gary Thornton wasn’t able to relax until in-form centre Jason Tali touched down for his ninth try in five ganes in the dying minutes to leave Bears needing to score two converted tries to salvage a draw.
Full-back Tom Carr joined the line and capitalised on good work by half-backs Brad Delaney and Jordan Howden, when supplying the try-scoring pass.
The Dons failed to advantage of a couple of early chances but all that was forgotten as they opened the scoring with skipper Kyle Kesik, who also had a hand in a couple of the tries in the one-point defeat at Newcastle, sending second-rower Brad Nicholson over from close range.
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Carr added the extras to make it 6-0.
Hooker Jay Lobwein was held up and prop Jack Morrison tackled just short before Carr pulled off a try-saving tackle on winger Jason Bass during a sustained spell of pressure by the home side.
Their efforts were finally rewarded when Hayden Freeman scored out wide following some snappy handling.
The Dons made a bright start to the second quarter with winger David Foggin-Johnson going close with a spectacular dive.
It was Coventry’s turn to be disappointed when they lost the ball over the line in the act of scoring.
A neat grubber-kick by Dewsbury loanee Delaney was scrambled dead in the nick of time with two Doncaster players set to pounce.
Hull FC forward Iafeta Paleaaesina, who made a big difference when coming off the bench, powered his way over for a converted try from close range just short of the half-hour mark.
No sooner had the cheering died down than the Dons were in again. Carr, who also added the extras getting on the end of stand-off Howden’s grubber kick.
Bears drew first blood after the break with centre Eddie Medforth touching down for a converted try after the Dons had failed to deal with a high kick.
The Dons quickly hit back with hooker Keiran Cross, back in the side after Ryan Wright was ruled out in midweek, combining with Nicholson to get the giant Paleaasina over for his second converted try.
The Dons, as they had done at times in the first half, rode their luck as Coventry’s finishing again let them down close to the line.
Centre Sam Doherty notched his first try of the campaign on 55 minutes when Freeman spilt the ball after collecting Delaney’s testing grubber kick after being hit hard by winger Louis Sheriff.
Bears again hit back with a converted try by full-back Charlie O’Mara cutting the deficit to just 12 points at the end of the third quarter.
Both defences came under pressure before some slick handling resulted in a second try for Medforth on 71 minutes.
Fortunately for the visitors, the conversion missed meaning the Dons stayed two scores in front.
Coventry Bears: O’Mara, Freeman, Medforth, Miliszewski, Bass, James, Redman; Beddows, Lobwein, Morrison, Thompson, Barratt, Hughes.Subs: Geurtjens, Beecham, Batchelor, O’Sullivan.
Dons: Carr, Foggin-Johnston,Doherty, Tali, Sheriff, Howden, Delaney; Aizue, Kesik, Castle, B Nicholson, Walton,Scott. Subs: Cross, Paleaaesina, Braham, L Welham.
Referee: L Moore