Doncaster 22 Featherstone Rovers 16: Victory takes Dons second in Championship

Action from the Dons' win over Featherstone. Picture: Tony Saxton
Action from the Dons' win over Featherstone. Picture: Tony Saxton
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Dons withstood a second half Featherstone fightback to claim another impressive scalp.

Rovers battled back from 12-0 down to lead 16-14 but a late try from player coach Paul Cooke sealed his side’s fourth Championship win out of five.

The victory saw Doncaster go second in the standings, behind early leaders Leigh.

It was the visitors who started the game on the front foot but a combination of dogged Dons defending and some sloppy Rovers play in the final third kept the scoreline blank.

Against the run of play Doncaster broke the deadlock, and in some style too.

Scottish international Dave Scott turned sharply and held off several defenders to burst over the line, with Stewart Sanderson adding a simple conversion.

The score changed the pattern of the game. Dons suddenly had the bit between their teeth and went close to scoring again almost immediately as Scott broke quickly before Mike Emmett was held up on the final tackle.

It wasn’t long before Cooke’s men made their newfound dominance count, Scott Spaven’s neat grubber kick falling perfectly for Jay Pitts to go in under the posts. Sanderson added the extras to put the hosts 12 points to the good.

Andy Bostock dropped the ball on the try line as Featherstone continued to be blighted by individual errors, but the visitors were given a lifeline right on the hooter as Gareth Moore gathered a chip over the top and laid it off for Ian Hardman to score. Moore kicked the conversion to reduce the deficit to six points at the break.

Shortly after the restart Sanderson kicked a penalty to put Dons 14-6 ahead but it was the visitors, buoyed by Hardman’s score, who were threatening the try line more.

They got their rewards on 55 minutes, switching from right to left for Hardman to power over again, before taking the lead after Greg Worthington weaved his way over.

However, there was to be another twist in the tale as Cooke showed his class to score a late try and Sanderson kicked a penalty to seal an impressive win.

* Dons: Scott, Morrison, Welham, Leaf, Sanderson, Cooke, Spaven, Spiers, Emmett, Carbutt, Kent, Kelly, Pitts. Subs: Robinson, Waterman, Wilkinson, Wilson.

* Featherstone: Hardman, Sharp, Worthington, Hellewell, Uaisele, Briggs, Moore, Crossley, Flanagan, James, Lockwood, Spears, Bussey. Subs: Kain, Dale, Hirst, Bostock.

Attendance: 1,317

Tries: Dons: Scott, Pitts, Cooke; Featherstone: Hardman (2), Worthington; conversions: Dons: Sanderson (3), Featherstone: Moore (2); penalties: Dons: Sanderson (2)