Doncaster RLFC 44 Coventry Bears 18: Eight-try Dons tame the Bears
Doncaster RLFC got back on track in Betfred League One with a 44-18 win over Coventry Bears at the Keepmoat Stadium.
The Dons remain sixth but only points difference now separates them from third-placed Newcastle after three top five sides lost over the weekend.
For a time in the first half it appeared the Dons could also be heading for defeat when trailing the Bears 12-4 but the result was never in doubt during a dominant second half showing.
Coventry contributed to their own downfall and had three men sin-binned and paid the price on every occasion.
The Dons got off to a flying start when winger Sam Doherty plucked a crossfield kick out of the air close to the line and then popped up a try-scoring pass for centre Connor Bower.
Bears hit back to take a 6-4 lead a couple of minutes later when second-rower Jacob Jones charged over from close range near enough for scrum-half Nicholas Newman to add the extras.
The Coventry forwards ran hard and straight and with Newman pulling the strings it came as no surprise when they extended their lead on 22 minutes – prop Peter Ryan winning the race to a clever grubber kick over the line by Newman who also added the extras.
Home supporters hadn’t had much to cheer since the opening minutes until stand-in scrum-half Kieran Cross sent prop Russ Spiers over from close range for a converted try.
Bears were reduced to 12 men on 35 minutes when prop Oliver Purslow was sin-binned and the Dons didn’t waste any time in capitalising on their numerical advantage – dual-registered second-rower Jack Brown celebrating his debut with a close-range try which Howden again converted to give his side a 16-12 lead.
Bears continued to concede penalties at regular intervals and twice almost paid the price before the break.
The visitors found themselves down to 11 men two minutes after the restart, winger Hayden Freeman joining Purslow in the sin bin following a somewhat harsh decision.
The Dons took advantage as hooker Callum Ogden notched a close-range converted try to make it 22-12 seconds before Purslow returned to the fray.
The Dons continued to make their numerical advantage count with Bower touching down out wide. Howden again tagged on the extras to give the Dons a 16-point lead.
Jordie Hedges kept the scoreboard ticking over with an unconverted try.
It was third-time lucky for the powerful Brandon Douglas, who had twice been held up over the line, a couple of minutes later as he touched down from close-range for a try converted by Hedges.
Bears found themselves short-handed again following a high tackle on Hedges – full-back Kieran Buchanan scoring soon after. Hedges added the extras from touch to make it 44-12.
Coventry completed the scoring with a late converted try.
Dons: Buchanan, Doherty, Bower, Tali, Chrimes, Howden, Cross, Boyle, Ogden, Douglas, Brown, Foster, Kesik. Subs: Hedges, Scott Spiers, Townsend.