Doncaster RLFC 80 Hemel Stags 18: Dons run riot to secure fourth spot

Connor Scott scored a hat trick against Hemel.

Connor Scott scored a hat trick against Hemel.

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The Dons ruthlessly ran through Hemel Stags to book a top four finish and home advantage in the promotion play-offs.

Doncaster ran in 14 tries, 12 of which were converted by full-back Tom Carr, as they consolidated fourth spot with one week of the regular season remaining, handing them home ties in four of their seven games in the next stage of the season.

Connor Scott scored a hat trick in the win over Hemel.

Connor Scott scored a hat trick in the win over Hemel.

The Dons were quickly out of their blocks at the Keepmoat Athletics Stadium and raced into an early 18-0 lead.

Good work by loose-forward George Milton set up a fifth-minute try for prop Connor Scott.

Winger Aarron Jones-Bishop celebrated his return to the starting line-up when cashing in on a fumble by his opposite number.

He was in again on 13 minutes, this time following a jinking run after cutting in from the wing.

Jason Tali scored twice for the Dons in the rout against Hemel Stags

Jason Tali scored twice for the Dons in the rout against Hemel Stags

Stags stunned the home supporters when hitting back with two close-range converted tries as the Dons seemed to take their eye off the ball.

Normal service was quickly resumed, however, with centre Sam Doherty taking his total of tries to five in two games with a quickly-taken brace to make it 28-12.

Hooker Kieran Cross bagged the club’s sixth try after backing up a strong break by man-of-the-match, second-rower Jack Walton

Centre Jason Tali forced his way over for another converted try in the last play of the half.

Cross, who has seen his chances limited since the arrival of Ryan Wright, bagged his second converted try of the game on 46 minutes following a darting run.

Home fans had to wait until the 57th minute to cheer the next Doncaster try scored by Carr, whose conversion again hit the post.

Centre Liam Welham, again covering in the second-row, kept the scoreboard ticking over when scoring near enough for Carr to add the extras.

Tali rewarded a superb midfield break by Jones-Bishop when touching down for his second converted try on 65 minute to make it 62-12.

Stags hit back with a converted try by hooker Dylan Readman.

The Dons finished as they had started with a three-try salvo.

Scott scored the first two to complete his hat-trick – both the result of determined running – with winger David Foggin-Johnson completing the rout.

Said Dons boss Gary Thornton: “We set out to claim the two points and we did that. There were parts of the game I was really pleased with and there were other elements I was pretty disappointed with.

“We got off to a flying start and were coasting at 18-0 and then we seemed to switch off and we can’t afford to do things like that when the play-offs start.

“We scored some very good tries, though I was a little bit disappointed with our skills level at times in the first half.

“But we spoke about it at half-time and we were a lot better in the second half.”