Faltering Doncaster RLFC slide to defeat at North Wales Crusaders

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
Doncaster RLFC slumped to a third defeat in four games as their Betfred League One promotion hopes continue to falter.

Their 28-22 defeat away at North Wales Crusaders and Hunslet’s win at Rochdale all but put paid to any realistic chance of pipping the Leeds-based club for second spot on a day when Dewsbury clinched the title.

The Dons retain third spot but may have to win all three remaining games - a run-in which sees them entertain the new champions - to see off the challenge of Oldham.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Despite being down to just 18 fit players and having to draft in a scrum-half from the amateur ranks, sixth-placed Crusaders avenged a 30-16 defeat at the Eco-Power Stadium in March in what was a must-win game for them in their battle against Rochdale for the final play-off spot.

Misi Taulapapa was on the trysheet for Doncaster.Misi Taulapapa was on the trysheet for Doncaster.
Misi Taulapapa was on the trysheet for Doncaster.

When winger Jack Sanderson crossed for an early unconverted try the Dons looked to be on course for an expected victory. But it didn’t turn out that way as the home side, whose forwards had posed problems for the Dons in their earlier game, hit back with three converted tries to take an 18-4 interval lead.

The Dons had produced a dominant second half display when coming from behind to beat Workington up in Cumbria last time out, and their chances of producing another comeback received a boost when scrum-half Connor Robinson crossed for a try he also converted.

But a penalty and a fourth converted try saw Crusaders, who had never beaten the Dons at home in the league, open up what proved to be a match-winning 26-10 lead.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Centre Misi Taulapapa bagged a third Doncaster try prior to half-back Leon Hayes, who finished with 16 points, making it 28-16 with a second penalty.

Ben Johnston went over late on but it was nothing more than a scant consolation for Doncaster who will be grateful that their next game is against bottom club London Skolars on Friday night.

The Dons, who led 60-6 at one stage in their home game against Skolars before conceding 24 points in the last 15 minutes, will be boosted by the return of PNG international Watson Boas following his one-match ban.

Skolars, who have yet to win a league game this season, are hoping some of the fans in London ahead of the Challenge Cup final will take in the game.

Dons: Guzdek, Halliday, Taulapapa, Tali, Sanderson, Johnston, Robinson, Cooper, Whitmore, Kenga, Smeaton, Ferres, Holdstock. Subs: Foster, Burns, Roberts, Vete.