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.
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.
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.