Dons hit the road in search of promotion to Championship

Doncaster RLFC will have to overcome their travel sickness if they are to win promotion from Betfred League One via the play-offs.

Dons’ Liam Johnson breaks through to score a try in the win over Hunslet. Photo: Andrew Roe/AHPIX LTD
Dons’ Liam Johnson breaks through to score a try in the win over Hunslet. Photo: Andrew Roe/AHPIX LTD

A resounding win over Hunslet in last weekend’s eliminator set up this Sunday’s semi-final trip to Colwyn Bay to face North Wales Crusaders.

Victory in Wales would see the Dons visit the losers of the other semi-final between Workington Town and Keighley in the preliminary final.

And should they come through that test they will be away once again in the play-off final.

Richard Horne’s side have clearly enjoyed playing at the Keepmoat Stadium this year, winning seven out of nine games on home soil.

But away from home it’s a different story.

Doncaster have won just three from nine on the road and were also held to draws at lowly London Skolars and perennial strugglers West Wales Raiders.

The Dons did win 68-0 when they visited North Wales earlier in the season but the Crusaders had several players missing due to Covid.

The reverse fixture between the sides did not get played after it was cancelled due to Covid protocols and the final league table was decided on win percentage.

Crusaders finished the regular season in third, while Doncaster finished fifth.

Hunslet arrived in South Yorkshire in good form on Sunday but they were no match for a pumped up Dons outfit who ran out 31-10 winners.

Tries from Sam Smeaton, Brandon Douglas and Liam Johnson helped Doncaster into an 18-6 lead at half time.

The score remained unchanged until the 66th minute when Matty Beharrell added a drop goal for the hosts before tries from Jake Sweeting and Douglas sealed an excellent victory.

Horne said afterwards: “I’m proud of the lads, we lost a couple of players during the game but we adapted really well.

“They worked hard for each other and got the job done, I thought we were in control for the majority of the game.

“We knew they would trouble us close to our line but we did a really good job of keeping them away from it.

“It was two good teams and we knew we’d have to get in the arm-wrestle, but our energy and enthusiasm paid off.”