Dons ‘showed fantastic spirit’ to secure first win - Thornton

Victory at last for the Dons. Photo: Dean Atkins
Victory at last for the Dons. Photo: Dean Atkins

Doncaster threw themselves a lifeline in their battle to stay afloat in the Championship after clipping Hunslet Hawks’ wings to claim a 34-26 victory at the Keepmoat Stadium and end a run of 21 league and cup defeats.

“It feels wonderful to have finally got our first win,” beamed coach Gary Thornton.

“It’s still a massive task (to stay up) and we’ve got two very tough games coming up but at least we are up and running.

“We were a bit hard done by in the first half and unlucky to come in trailing 8-6. I did fear the worse when they scored three tries at the start of the second half but we showed fantastic spirit and togetherness to come back into the game and I’m delighted for both the players and the fans.

“We had that bit of luck in the second half but it’s about time.

“We also took advantage of it and when Mitch Clark went over after they had spilled the ball (to close the gap to 16-26) I don’t think there was any doubt as to who was going to win the game because we had the momentum.”

Paul Mennell and Steve Snitch both added tries to level the scores at 26-all before Australian Matt Groat’s try secured the spoils.

Thornton said: “Matt was outstanding and the back three were excellent running the ball out, both centres too.”

Thornton was also pleased how new signings Joe McLocklan and Ryan Wright, neither of whom has played much rugby recently, showed up.

The game also marked the long-awaited debut of full-back Tom Carr.