Doncaster RLFC 34 London Skolars 30: Dons finish Super 8s in fourth spot

Doncaster RLFC held on to fourth spot in the League One Super 8s after ending the campaign with a 34-30 win over a spirited London Skolars at the Keepmoat Stadium.

Monday, 12th September 2016, 5:00 am
Updated Tuesday, 4th October 2016, 2:41 pm
Doncaster Dons' Jason Tali. Picture: Andrew Roe

The Dons will now visit Barrow, who dropped to third after they lost at Toulouse on Saturday and Rochdale beat Hunslet, in the play-off semi-final a week on Sunday.

Having posted a big win at the Keepmoat on the second weekend of the Super 8s, the Cumbrians will start as favourites.

But with the Dons having recorded back-to-back wins and getting several injured players back they won’t lack confidence – though they will have to defend better than today.

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Skolars, who beat the Dons at home in the iPro Cup at the start of the season, made the early running and took a 6-0 lead after just four minutes with a converted try by loose-forward Louis Robinson.

The Dons, who had leading try-scorer Jason Tali back on duty after more than a month on the sidelines, drew level on eight minutes.

Winger Louis Sherriff latched on to a loose ball and raced 45 metres to score near enough for full-back Tom Carr to convert.

They opened up a 12-6 lead on 13 minutes after Carr broke strongly from his own half and found stand-in second-rower Aaron Jones-Bishop up in support and his superb pass out of the tackle sent centre Sam Doherty over for a second converted try.

Showing few signs of it being their third game in eight days, the Dons increased their lead to 12 points after prop Connor Scott bumped off a couple of defenders close to the line to score near enough for Carr to again add the extras.

Carr was bundled into touch just short of the line following a near off-load by Tali.

With stand-off Jordan Howden calling the shots the Dons opened up a 24-6 lead on 32 minutes – despite Sherriff being in the sin-bin – skipper Kyle Kesik forcing his way over from close range.

Skolars finished the half as they had started - centre Aaron Shall squeezing in the corner for a 38th minute try again goaled by Oscar Thomas to make it 24-12.

Skolars dominated the opening minutes of the second half and reduced the deficit still further with an unconverted 50th minute close-range try by second-rower Eddie Mbarga.

It took the Dons until the 56th minute to mount their first attack on the London line, winger David Foggin-Johnson touching down in the corner from close range.

Skolars refused to throw in the towel, however, and a fourth try on 64 minutes gave them renewed hope.

But the sin-binning of Robinson, followed by Howden ghosting in from ten metres for a try goaled by Carr, finally looked to have put paid to any comeback hopes.

Skolars thought otherwise and two late tries made for a tense finish.

Dons: Carr, Foggin-Johnson, Doherty, Tali, Sherriff; Howden, Hedges; Braham, Kesik, Scott, B Nicholson, Jones-Bishop, Milton. Subs: Cross, Aizue, Castle,Walton.

London Skolars: Thomas, Hill, Shall, Jima, Winfield; Coleman, Lawrence; Dollapi, Bishway, Mbarga, Lovell, Robinson. Subs: Pointer, Gray, Sykes, Faturoti.