Doncaster RLFC 34 Oxford 16: Dons keep top four hopes alive with first win under new boss Richard Horne
Doncaster RLFC got back on track following successive defeats when beating Oxford 34-16 in their rearranged League One clash against Oxford at Featherstone.
The result was never in doubt after the Dons raced into a 20-0 lead inside the first quarter and the focus quickly turned to how many points they would win by – an important factor given their need to massively improve their points difference during the run-in to claim fourth spot.
Although he will have welcomed his first win in charge, head coach Richard Horne will be rightly disappointed by the final outcome given the interval scoreline.
The Dons got off to a flying start with an unconverted try by winger Sam Doherty after less than 90 seconds.
No sooner had the cheers died down than hooker Kieran Cross touched down under the posts, for a try converted by Jack Miller, after breaking clear down the middle just inside the Oxford half.
Doherty rounded off some snappy handling when diving over in the corner on eight minutes to make it 14-0.
The one-way traffic continued with Miller, who also added the extras, latching on to a loose ball from his kick.
The way the Dons had started, and Oxford’s body language, suggested there were plenty more where that came from.
Although they didn’t look to have the firepower to trouble the Dons, winger Jordan Gill went close on 23 minutes.
The Oxford defence continued to look brittle and second-rower Brad England raced in from 35 metres out to make it 24-0.
Oxford opened their account on 27 minutes with a well-worked try by Gill out wide.
Miller weaved his way over from close range to claim his second converted try. Oxford bagged a second try on the hooter to make it 30-8.
Oxford started the second half better than they had started the first and carved out several half-chances in the third quarter.
It took the Dons, who didn’t help their cause by giving away a string of penalties and making handling errors, until the 72nd minute to add to their tally with a hat-trick try by Doherty.
Gill bagged a second before Marcus Brooker touched down in injury-time.
Dons: Dean, Doherty, Welham, Martin, Barnett, Hedges, Miller; Braham, Cross, Spiers, England, Downs. Green. Subs: Paleaaesina, Wright, Muranka, Scott.