Match report: Workington Town 12 Doncaster RLFC 22

Craig Robinson tries to break through the Workington line. Picture: Paul Johnson
Craig Robinson tries to break through the Workington line. Picture: Paul Johnson

Newly-appointed player-coach Paul Cooke engineered a fine comeback to see Doncaster RLFC clinch a solid opening day victory in the Championship.

Cooke, who took over from long-serving coach Tony Miller last year and has challenged his side to secure another sixth-place finish, punished Workington Town with his kicks and solid organisational skills - ultimately proving too much for the hosts who relinquished their first half lead.

Things did not start well for The Dons as Workington pounced early doors when debutant Lewis Tierney released Elliott Miller with a pinpoint kick and the Town winger raced over for the first score of the game.

Kayle Connor added the extras for 6-0 inside the opening ten minutes.

Town then doubled their scoreline when a bursting break from Brett Phillips saw Wigan loan star Tierney crash over for his first try for the club. Connor again found his range to convert for 12-0.

Doncaster hit back later on in what was an end-to-end encounter at Cumbria’s Derwent Park.

The try came when The Dons capitalised on a loose ball and Stu Sanderson went over in the corner. However, the kick was missed.

Workington took their 12-4 advantage into the break as both sides looked dangerous with the ball but could not make their possession count.

After the break, Doncaster rallied through talisman Cooke who began a penetrating move which ended in Mark Castle going over. Sanderson added the two points with the boot for 12-10.

The visitors went in front for the first time in the afternoon just moments after the 50-minute mark - Dave Scott adding the vital score.

Sanderson converted for the second time in the game to make it 16-12 to the away side.

Town were lively in possession but Cooke’s well-organised defence stifled plenty of Workington’s plays as the hosts cut a frustrated figure in front of a 895-strong crowd.

The Dons, who snatched glory with the last play against Town last season, continued to press through Cooke’s kicks and they made their opponents pay in the 72nd minute.

It came following a crucial missed tackle on the 10-metre mark from the home side as Sanderson powered through for 20-12.

Doncaster’s fitness eventually overcame the hard-working Town side, who managed a bonus point, as Sanderson’s final mark came through a left-footed conversion which squeezed between the posts for 22-12.