Doncaster RLFC 0 Halifax 52: Dons back down to earth

Up against it:The Dons suffer their bigges home defeat of the season. Photo: Glenn Ashley
Up against it:The Dons suffer their bigges home defeat of the season. Photo: Glenn Ashley

Just when it looked as though things had taken a turn for the better for the Dons following their first win of the season, they took a turn a turn for the worse.

In-form Halifax booked their place in the forthcoming Middle Eight competition, which pits the bottom four in Super League with the top-four in the Championship, when romping to their eighth successive win and sentencing the Dons to their biggest home defeat of the season.

Whilst it could be argued that the West Yorkshire side were slightly flattered by their 18-0 interval lead, the second-half was one-way traffic and Gary Thornton’s men failed to score in league game for the first time in six years.

Doncaster’s cause wasn’t helped by the fact that they had to play loose-forward Mike Emmett at scrum-half due to the fact former Halifax half-back Paul Mennell was unavailable.

Emmett didn’t let the side down but he would be the first to admit that the Dons lacked the organisation behind the scrum they had in the win over Hunslet.

Halifax made the early running and took an 10-0 lead with a brace of tries by second-rower Dane Manning from well-executed kicks.

But the home side didn’t let their heads go down and with the likes of Matt Groat and Mitch Clark both running strongly they asked questions at times of the Halifax defence.

But poor handling at times and a lack of discipline contributed to their failure to turn pressure into points.

Halifax had found it tougher than they must have expected in the first half to break down the Doncaster defence and elected to go for the two points from a 30th minute penalty.

They extended their lead to 18-0 with a third converted try from a kick by Johnson which centre Steve Tyrer plucked out of the air before crashing over.

Dons’ winger Peter Fox was held on his back over the line at the death following some of the best handling of the half.

Needing to score first after the break to mount any sort of challenge, the Dons conceded three tries in the opening minutes and found themselves trailing 34-0.

Full-back Ben Johnson and Ryan Maneely both scored soft tries before the latter touched down from a break down the left.

Apart from when new loan signing LotoTagaloa was held just short the Dons rarely looked like opening their account.

Dons: Carr; Scott, Doherty, Welham, Fox; Emmett, McLocklan; Groat, Kesik. Spiers, Snitch, Musolino, Clark. Subs: Carbutt, Kelly, Wright, Tagaloa.

Halifax: Johnston; Potts, Saltonstall, Tyrer, Saxton; Robinson, Murrell; Tangata,Kaye, Cahalane, Divorty, Manning, Moore. Subs: Bracek, Spencer, Maneely, Boyer.

Referee: Tom Crashley.

Att: 1,506