Challenge Cup: Doncaster RLFC 34 Newcastle Thunder 0
Doncaster RLFC booked their place in the fifth round of the Ladbrokes Challenge Cup when beating Newcastle Thunder 34-0 in an all-Division One clash at the Keepmoat Stadium.
The Dons, with scrum-half Liam Harris again showing up well, were more clinical on a bitterly-cold the night, which made for handling mistakes by both sides, and they also showed up well in defence.
But they were made to work hard at times for their win against a side who did enough to suggest they will test their unbeaten league record at Kingston Park on Sunday week.
Newcastle enjoyed the better of the opening exchanges and it was against the run of play when full-back Richard Owen touched down for a sixth-minute converted try following some slick handling in the Thunder 20.
The visitors hit back strongly and hooker Evan Simons went close from dummy half.
Owen got away down the left before putting Kieran Cross away and the hooker showed good speed before being hauled down 30m out.
The visitors threatened again on 17 minutes and Simons would have backed himself to score had he held on to prop Liam McAvoy’s pass five metres out.
The Dons did well to deny winger Mo Agoro in the corner following a slick handling move.
The Dons doubled their lead on 24 minutes when Harris left the cover for dead after dummying his way into space in the Thunder 20 to score a try he again converted to make it 12-0.
There was a let-off for the Dons on 34 minutes when centre Ben Callard just failed to get a touch to Simons’ kick over the line.
The game was still in the balance at the break, but just as they had done in the league win over Whitehaven at the weekend, the Dons got well on top in the second half and romped home.
The Dons extended their lead on 47 minutes when Harris picked Jack Sanderson out with a long pass and the winger touched down in the corner.
Harris, whose grubber kick created the chance, was also involved in the build-up to centre Liam Welham’s 62nd minute try.
The Dons were in again two minutes later - Aaron Jones-Bishop capitalising on a fumble by full-back Theerapol Ritson. Harris tagged on the extras to make it 28-0.
Winger Sam Doherty touched down in the corner on 69 minutes following some basketball-style handling in a move again initiated by Harris whose conversion made it 34-0.
It is now four from four and the Dons, though there is still room for improvement, are starting to look the real deal. The next two league games should tell us more.
Dons: Owen, Doherty, Bower, Welham, Sanderson, Howden, Harris; Spiers, Cross, Scott, England, Martin, Wilkinson.Subs: Muranka, Jones-Bishop, Braham, Hedges.