Doncaster RLFC narrowly avoid shock Challenge Cup exit

A late try by PNG international Watson Boas spared Doncaster RLFC’s blushes in their Coral Challenge Cup third round tie against Thornhill Trojans at the Tetley’s Stadium.

Sunday, 9th February 2020, 10:30 am
Updated Sunday, 9th February 2020, 10:30 am
Watson Boas. Photo: Rob Terrace

With the Dons trailing their National Conference League rivals 20-18 and seemingly heading for an embarrassing defeat, Boas, who helped the Kumals beat Great Britain last November, capitalised on a defender losing his footing to race from inside his own half to score a 78th minute try which full-back Jack Logan converted.

Trojans had every right to feel gutted at the final whistle after producing such a heroic performance.

Missing both Matty Beharrell and Rangi Chace, the Dons often lacked leadership and organisation and made numerous unforced errors. They will certainly have to play much better if they hope to get their Betfred League One campaign off to a winning start away to North Wales Crusaders on Sunday.

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Trojans got off to a dream start – winger Declan Kaye rounding off a bout of smart handling with try out wide, converted by loose-forward Casey, after just four minutes.

The Dons levelled the scores on eight minutes after former Newcastle Thunder second-rower Aaron Ollett touched down under the posts, for a his first try for the club, converted by full-back Jack Logan, after getting on the end of a grubber-kick by Boas.

Making good use of the blustery wind at their backs, Trojans continued to take the game to the Dons and deservedly regained the lead at the end of an impressive first quarter performance when second-rower George Stott was allowed to force his way over from close range.

Johnson again added the extras and also landed a 35-metre penalty to secure his side a 14-6 lead.

The Dons finished the half strongly, twice going close despite having Ross Peltier – their most effective forward - sin-binned but could have no complaints with the interval score.

Trojans started the second half strongly but the Dons gradually started to find a bit of form.

Peltier was held up over the line before Kieran Cross, playing his first game for over six months, darted over from acting half-back at the side of the posts. Logan added the extras as he did when last season’s top try-scorer Sam Doherty raced in at the corner following some snappy handling in the Thornhill 20.

If the Dons supporters in the crowd expected the floodgates to open they were in for a surprise.

Little had been seen of Thornhill in attack since the opening minutes of the half but they made the most of a rare spell of pressure in the Doncaster 20 with centre Nick Mitchell touching down following a good handling move.

Johnson maintained his 100 per cent record when converting from touch to give his side a 20-18 lead.

That is the way it stayed until Boas won it for the Dons.

Dons: Logan, Doherty, Smeaton, Tali, Halliday, Cross, Boas; Boyle, Carter, Douglas, Foster, Ollett, Wilkinson. Subs: Howe, Holdstock, Peltier, Spiers.