Doncaster Dons back on right track

Gamble pays: Mick Butterfield evades Jamie Clarke on the way to his try.       PHOTO: rob terrace
Gamble pays: Mick Butterfield evades Jamie Clarke on the way to his try. PHOTO: rob terrace
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DONCASTER finished the stronger as they eventually cantered to a 41-28 win over North Wales Crusaders at the Racecourse Ground yesterday.

But they had earlier struggled against a lively Crusaders’ side and turned around level 18-18 at the break.

“I asked the players for a response after the defeat at Workington and I got it although there were things that we could have done better - especially in defence,” said Dons’ boss Tony Miller.

“I also thought we made too many individual errors, and we played too lateral when we had the ball, in the first half and the score reflected that at half-time.

“Although we like to play an expansive game we’d identified that they were weak on defence close to their line and I wanted us to play a more direct game and that’s what we did in the second half.

“We started the second half strongly, which is something we’ve not always done this season, and we scored a couple of early tries and we never really looked in danger after that.”

The Dons sprung a surprise by playing full-back Mick Butterfield, ruled out in midweek with a knee injury: “We decided late on Friday night to play Butts and it was a gamble which paid off,” said Miller.

“I also thought that Russ Spiers played well before going off with a knee injury and hooker Nathan Powley and scrum-half Craig Fawcett did well.”

The Dons, who remain second behind Barrow, who beat Cumbrian rivals Whitehaven, now find themselves without a game until June 24, having already played Rochdale at Spotland and the RFL’s decision to set two weekends aside for the knockout stages of the Northern Rail Cup, for which Miller’s men failed to qualify: “It’s not ideal at this stage of the season but it will give the players carrying knocks time to recover.”