Sam Smeaton eyes individual record as Dons host improving Cornwall
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Currently the top try-scorer in League One, Smeaton bagged a late brace in the club’s 60-0 win over bottom club London Skolars at the New River Stadium on Friday night to equal the 19-try haul of the late Kevin Parkhouse set back in the 1985-86 campaign.
Having scored four of his tries in the club’s 44-16 win over Cornwall at the Memorial Stadium earlier in the season, the second-rower will fancy his chances of both boosting his hopes of holding on to top spot in the League One list and beating Parkhouse’s long-standing record.
If Smeaton does go on to complete a try-scoring double he will be the first to acknowledge the contribution of play-maker Ben Johnston who has created the opening or supplied the try-scoring pass in the build-up to a number of his touchdowns.
Although the Dons moved to within two points of second-placed Hunslet with just two games remaining, head coach Richard Horne knows that with the Leeds club entertaining Skolars this weekend his charges are realistically playing for third spot.
Depending on the outcome of Oldham’s last three games - one of which will be played at Boundary Park which they will share with Oldham Athletic next season - the Dons might need to beat both Cornwall and Dewsbury over the next ten days to retain third place.
Beaten 52-16 in the corresponding game last season, Cornwall have enjoyed a more successful season than their debut campaign having managed to win four games but have yet to really trouble the Dons in any of their previous meetings.
The Choughs will not lack hope, however, after beating Midlands Hurricanes the week before the Birmingham side produced a stunning 41-10 victory at the Eco-Power Stadium – arguably the shock result of the season in League One.
They also defeated North Wales Crusaders, who beat the Dons the following week, 40-38 in their last away game during which they produced their best first half showing since joining the league when romping to a 40-4 interval lead after producing a free-flowing display.
Although they were well beaten by visiting Oldham a fortnight ago, Horne will have drilled into his squad this week that there must be no complacency going into the game which will be only the club’s second home game in over two months.