Centre Sam Doherty was Doncaster’s hat-trick hero as they beat London Skolars 30-10 in an eventful League One clash at the New River Stadium.
All three of Doherty’s tries – the third of which he scored in the last minute – came during second half which featured several lengthy breaks in play.
The two teams left the field late in the third quarter due to fears about the players’ safety due to thunder and lightning.
Play was also held up following a brawl after Doherty, standing in for injured top try-scorer Jason Tali, had touched down for his second try on 70 minutes.
The result of some excellent handling, the unconverted try made the score 22-10 and left the in-form Skolars needing to score two converted tries to win the game.
Tempers remained frayed in the last ten minutes during which Skolars had a man sin-binned in the incident which gave full-back Tom Carr the chance to kick a 77th minute penalty.
The Dons were the first to threaten and winger Louis Sheriff touched down out wide on six minutes after Carr had made the extra man only for the full-back’s pass to be ruled forward.
However, the Doncaster fans who made the long trip to the capital didn’t have long to wait to celebrate a score – skipper Kyle Kesik scoring a trademark try from acting half-back close to the line.
Carr, who impressed throughout the game when dealing with high kicks, added the extras before hitting the target with a penalty from the halfway line to make it 8-0.
Good work by scrum-half Jordie Hedges and young second-rower Jack Walton carved out a gilt-edged chance for centre Liam Welham only for him to knock-on with the line at his mercy.
London hit back strongly and both centres Will Lovell and Aaron Small were held up over the line in quick succession.
The Dons increased their lead on the half-hour, Sheriff bagging his seventh try of the season when getting on the end of an astute kick to the corner by young stand-off Jordan Howden, who orchestrated play well throughout.
Carr again tagged on the conversion to leave Skolars – who had beaten fancied Barrow and Keighley in their previous two home games, trailing 14-0.
Skolars hauled themselves back into the game just before the interval when scrum-half James Woodburn-Hall broke the line and committed Carr in a two-on-one situation before sending second-rower Mike Worrincy over for a converted try.
Gary Thornton’s men had a second try, this time by Carr, disallowed from another kick by Howden in the opening minutes of the second half.
Sheriff had a second try disallowed for a forward pass before the first of Doherty’s trio from another kick by Howden on 55 minutes.
Lovell touched down for Skolars when play resumed to make it 18-10 and the deficit would have been even less had Woodburn-Hall not lost the ball in the act of scoring.London Skolars: Walker; Nash, Lovell, Small, Paxton; Coleman, Woodburn-Hall; Dollapi,Lawrence,Williams,Worrincy, Chester. Subs: Sykes, Mbaraga, Driver, Gray.
Dons: Carr, Sheriff, Doherty, L Welham, Foggin-Johnson; Howden, Hedges; Scott, Kesik, M Nicholson, Walton, Foster, Milton. Subs: Wright, B Nicholson, Castle. O’Donnell.