Mixed emotions after Doncaster RLFC beat newly-crowned champions Dewsbury

Sunday was a day of mixed emotions for Doncaster RLFC boss Richard Horne as the curtain came down on the regular Betfred League One campaign.
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The club’s 36-26 win over Dewsbury secured them third spot and home advantage against Oldham in the first round of the play-offs on Sunday.

But Horne admitted it was a ‘bit gutting’ to see the Rams presented with the championship trophy after the game.

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“Congratulations to Dewsbury - they have been the best side in the league this year,” said Horne.

Picture by Howard Roe/AHPIX.comPicture by Howard Roe/AHPIX.com
Picture by Howard Roe/AHPIX.com

“We had hoped to have been in with a chance of the title going into today’s game despite losing at Dewsbury earlier the season, but things in life don’t always go the way you would like and a couple of poor performances hurt us and proved costly and as a result we’ve now got to try and get up via the play-offs.”

The Dons, who saw off a late challenge by Oldham, ended the regular season level on points with second-placed Hunslet but with a slightly inferior points difference.

“Although pleased to have seen his side become only the second team to beat Dewsbury, Horne admits that they could have made it easier for themselves.

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“We started really well and had the chance to go 18-0 in the first quarter and probably put the game to bed with them not having anything to play for.

“Instead, we came in 10-6 down despite having been the best side due to the fact that they had been more clinical than us.

“We were a little bit more direct in the second half, whereas I thought we see-sawed at times in the first half finding passes but not always engaging defenders.

“We didn’t make the best of starts after the break and fell further behind and but for another try-saving tackle by (winger) Travis Corion, who has hit a bit of form, we’d have gone further behind.

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“But we knew that we had taken a lot out of them in the first half and that they’d be a bit leggy in the last 20 minutes and we managed to keep ourselves within touching distance and then kick on in the final quarter and win the game, which was great.”

Horne said he knew that Oldham were getting beat by Midlands Hurricanes - the only team to beat the Dons at home this season - but said that the players weren’t aware of the score at the Vestacre Stadium.