Featherstone Lions 6 Doncaster RLFC 46: Dons make progress in Challenge Cup
Doncaster RLFC booked their place in the fifth round of the Coral Rugby League Challenge Cup with a 46-6 win over Featherstone Lions.
But they will have to play much better than they did against the National Conference League Division One side at the LD Nutrition Stadium if they are to go much further in the competition.
Although their build-up play and finishing was impressive at times other aspects of their performance fell well below the standards set for them by the coaching staff.
Short of three suspended players and two others who dropped out at short notice, Lions can feel proud of their efforts but they had no one to match speedy hooker Kieran Cross, who notched a hat trick with some excellent support play in addition in helping to set two others up.
The Dons, who elected to play up the slope in the first half, took the lead on seven minutes when winger Matty Chrimes touched down out wide following some slick handling.
The visitors doubled their lead on 17 minutes when winger Sam Doherty touched down out wide following good work by Jordie Hedges who had cleverly changed the direction of the attack.
Once again the Australian, standing in for regular kicker Matty Beharrell, failed to add the extras.
Little had been seen of Lions in attack until the 23rd minute when George Nuttall dropped on the loose ball after the Dons had failed to clear the danger from a neat grubber kick by hooker Scott Glassel.
Full-back Ian Jackson added the extras to leave his side just two points adrift.
Lions came more into the game in the second quarter and had the chance to level the scores when being awarded a kickable penalty but elected to go for a try.
The Dons scored against the run of play when Cross split the Featherstone defence and found full-back Richard Owen up in support and he raced clear.
Jordan Howden took over the kicking duties and added the extras.
The Dons were in again a couple of minutes later when Greek forward Stefanos Bastas celebrated signing for the club in midweek after several trial games when crossing for a second converted try from close range.
Howden again added the extras to give the Dons, who had twice gone close from kicks to the corner, a somewhat flattering 20-6 interval lead.
Despite having prop Brandon Douglas sin-binned the Dons increased their lead on 47 minutes - prop Russ Spiers breaking strongly from his own half before finding Cross up in support 40 metres out.
No sooner were the Dons back to their full compliment than centre Connor Bower and Chrimes scored a brace of quickly-taken tries on their respective flanks.
Cross completed the scoring with two late tries – the first following a break by Hedges, and the second an opportunist effort.
Doncaster: Owen, Doherty, Bower, Tali, Chrimes, Howden, Hedges, Boyle, Ogden, Scott, Cox, Townsend, Kesik. Subs: Cross, Douglas, Spiers, Bastas.