Doncaster RLFC 38 Newcastle Thunder 21: Dons continue impressive winning run

Dons' Frankie Mariano
Dons' Frankie Mariano

Doncaster RLFC completed a hat trick of wins over Newcastle Thunder when recording a 38-21 Betfred League One victory at the Keepmoat Stadium.

But they had to work harder than in their 34-0 Challenge Cup win over the visitors at the same ground back in March on a bitterly cold night.

As befitting a side lying fourth in the table and on a six-match winning run, the Dons started the game in a confident manner and went close on several occasions.

But it was the visitors, who had elected to run three previous kickable penalties, who opened the scoring with an easy kick by scrum-half Remi Marginet on 15 minutes.

The Dons took a lead they never lost when dual-registered full-back Hakim Miloudi spotted a gap 15 metres out and went over out wide on 22 minutes. Matty Beharrell added the extras to make it 6-2.

Beharrell burst over from close range for a try he also converted after the ball had been moved left.

No sooner had the cheers died down than David Weetman raced in from inside the Doncaster 20 for a converted try to close the gap to four points again.

The Dons hit back with a contender for their try of the season.

Miloudi somehow managed to evade two Newcastle players after collecting a kick over the line and weaved his way past several more before finding winger Jack Sanderson just before the halfway line and he cut inside his marker and then left the cover for dead.

Beharrell’s conversion secured the Dons an 18-9 interval lead – Marginet landing a long-range drop goal on the hooter.

The Dons scored the all-important first try of the second half on 52 minutes.

Second-rower Brad England, who was again outstanding in the forward exchanges, created the position with a storming run into the Newcastle 22.

The ball was moved slickly along the line from the resulting play-the-ball which created the chance for leading try-scorer Jason Tali to cut through from close range.

Beharrell, who is proving to be a shrewd mid-season signing, again tagged on the extras to make it 24-9.

Thunder enjoyed a sustained spell on attack at the start of the final quarter and were rewarded by a close-range converted try by prop Ben Pointer.

The Dons gave themselves a bit more breathing space on 66 minutes when Howden touched down from his own close-range grubber-kick, which took a kindly deflection off a defender, to open up a 28-15 lead.

Thunder showed no intention of throwing in the towel and Vincent Rennie scored a third converted try following a spell of pressure, to cut the deficit to just seven points.

Thunder had prop Harry Aldous sent-off following a flare-up and the Dons wasted no time in making their extra man count – centre Jack Logan rounding off some snappy handling with an unconverted try.

Tali bagged a second try, again converted by Beharrell, to complete the scoring.

Dons: Miloudi, Sanderson, Logan, Tali, Doherty, Howden, Beharrell; Scott, Kesik, Spiers, England, Mariano, Muranka. Subs: Boyle, Hedges, Madani, Bower.