Doncaster RLFC failed to get their pre-season campaign off to a winning start against full-time Championship side London Broncos, who won a competitive game at the Keepmoat Stadium 22-16, but there were plenty of encouraging signs.
The Dons started the game with five new signings and featured a new-look half-back partnership featuring debutant Liam Harris and Jack Miller.
Despite the bit bitter cold and periods of driving rain the handling and commitment by both sides was commendable throughout.
Defences were on top for most of the first 15 minutes or so and the Doncaster forwards, in particular, found it hard to make progress and had to rely mainly on the tactical kicking of Miller to gain ground.
The Dons started to get on top towards the end of the first quarter and lively prop Connor Scott ran strongly from 10 metres out on 21 minutes to score the game’s opening try which half-back Miller goaled.
Broncos hit back and strong-running forward Sadiq Adebiyi was held up over the line.
There was no stopping him several minutes later, however, and he touched down near enough for stand-off Jarrod Sammut to level the scores.
The Dons regained the initiative and twice forced goal-line drop outs prior to winger Sam Doherty, who still had a lot to do, rewarding some good handling when touching down in the corner on 37 minutes.
Broncos finished the half strongly and it was Doncaster’s turn to defend their line.
A mistake from the restart created the position from which Broncos took a 12-10 lead with a 42nd minute converted try by William Lovell out wide.
The former Super League side continued to edge the second half exchanges and added to their score when Sammut weaved his way over from 10 metres out to score a try he also converted to make it 18-10.
The home side, who put some good moves together, laid siege to the London line and came within inches of a try on several occasions.
But they fell further behind on 64 minutes when prop Mark Loane crossed from close range to make it 22-10.
The Dons lasted the pace well and set up a grandstand finish when centre Liam Welham touched down for a late try after Broncos fumbled a clever grubber kick by Miller.
Dons: Owen, Doherty, Welham, Tali, Sanderson, Miller, Harris; Boyle, Kesik, Spiers, Muranka, Martin, Wilkinson. Subs: Jones-Bishop, Hedges, Scott, Braham, Rawsthorne.