Barrow 46 Doncaster RLFC 6: Dons crash out in play-off semi-finals

Kyle Kesik  scored Dons' try. 'Picture Dean Atkins
Kyle Kesik scored Dons' try. 'Picture Dean Atkins

Doncaster RLFC will spend at least another season in League One after going down to a 46-6 defeat in their play-off semi-final against Barrow at Craven Park.

The Cumbrians, who will travel to France this weekend to face Toulouse in the final, ran in seven tries as they avenged a 16-13 defeat in the 2012 final at Warrington.

Although well beaten in the end, the Dons will no doubt have reflected on what might have been had they converted a couple of gilt-edged chances in the first half on the long journey back.

They will also feel that Lady Luck wasn’t on their side in the first 40 minutes - though they can have few complaints about the score in the second half and finished well beaten on a day when they fell short of the standards they needed to beat a very good Barrow side.

The Cumbrians struck an early blow - centre Max Wiper touching down for a converted fifth-minute try.

The Dons looked to have scored three minutes later when winger Louis Sheriff rounded off a bout of sparkling handling with a spectacular dive at the corner only to be judged to have gone into touch.

Barrow rode their luck and increased their lead when Jamie Dallimore put winger Chris Fleming over with a long pass.

Even at that stage the Dons knew how important the next score was and fortunately for them they scored it – full-back Tom Carr finding a gap and putting the supporting Kyle Kesik over for an 18th minute try he also converted to make it 10-6.

The Dons would have drawn level with the conversion to come at the start of the second quarter but for prop Mark Castle knocking on over the line.

The visitors continue to take the game to Barrow and they bombed a second try on the half-hour when second-rower Mason Tonks spoilt impressive work in the build-up by prop Iafeta Paleaaesina and Tali by throwing out a forward pass to Sheriff with a try there for the taking.

Barrow’s Antony Bate touched down from a grubber kick a couple of minutes later with the badly-positioned referee inadvertently obstructing the Doncaster defence.

Hankinson again added the extras and also kicked a subsequent penalty to edge his side into an 18-6 interval lead.

When Dan Toal crashed over for a converted try to make it 24-6 within three minutes of the restart the Dons had a mountain to climb and never got past first base.

Toal bagged a second converted try after Castle spilled the ball shortly after Wiper had bombed a chance.

Fleming grabbed his second following the sin-binning of Kesik for a high tackle on the hour with Karl Ashall and Ryan Fieldhouse rounding off a dominant second half with tries at the death.

There is no need for the Dons to over-react and things could have been different but for a glut of injuries, but the squad will clearly need to be strengthened ahead of next season.

Dons: Carr, Foggin-Johnson, Doherty, Tali, Sheriff; Howden, Hedges; Braham, Kesik, Scott, Tonks, B Nicholson, Milton. Subs: Wright, Castle, Paleaaesina, Aizue.