THE Dons must now take their second chance at reaching the Championship One grand final after being edged out by Barrow in a thriller at the Keepmoat.
Doncaster lost the lead at the end of the first half and could not overturn the deficit, sending the Raiders into the final in two week’s time.
The Dons will now host either Workington or Whitehaven in the supplementary semi final next Sunday to decide who will face Barrow in Warrington.
After plenty of early indiscipline from both sides, the game panned out into a thrilling contest.
The Dons ruthlessly punished Barrow indiscipline inside the first two minutes.
After winning two penalties within the first minute, Doncaster made excellent ground before Kyle Kesik went over, Waterman converting.
Indiscipline would prove to be the word of the first half as both sides gave away plenty of penalties with referee Matt Thomason taking centre stage.
Barrow took a brief stranglehold on the game and the pressure told with Kesik yellow carded for a shoulder charge.
And shortly after, the visitors drew level with Aaron Low going over in the corner with the Dons defence stretched, Ballard adding the extras.
Possession changed hands on several occasions due to penalties but the Dons took full advantage of one decision in their favour.
Craig Fawcett took a quick tap and passed to Carl Hughes who snaked his way through a flat-footed Barrow defence to score, Waterman converted.
But within a minute, Barrow were level once again as Low snatched a big bomb from Scott Kaighan to present himself with a clear run to the line, Ballard converting.
Barrow reached their stride well in the later stages of the half, demonstrating fast ball movement.
And they took the lead for the first time in the final minute with possession moved quickly out to Chris Larkin, who dummied one way and dived over the line the other to score.
The game looked to have been slipping away from Doncaster as Barrow extended their lead when James Dandy went over and Ballard converted.
But a pair of near identical tries for the Dons set up a tantalising last 20 minutes.
First Kesik sent a big kick into the corner with Lucas Walshaw collecting to touch down.
Then it was Fawcett providing the big bomb for Stewart Sanderson who out-jumped his opposite number to score.
Waterman failed to convert both leaving the Dons two points adrift.
What followed was a thrilling period of rugby league with both sides breaking well but neither able to make the telling run.
Doncaster: Waterman, Colton, Spurr, Cowling, Sanderson, Cooke, Fawcett, Castle, Kesik, Spiers, Kelly, Walshaw, Hughes.
Subs: Emmett, Cunningham, Powley, Robinson.
Barrow: Ballard, Backhouse, Larkin, Low, Nixon, Kaighan, Campbell, Duffy, Finch, McGoff, Harrison, Gordon, Toal.
Subs: Dandy, Ostler, Butler, Dawson.
Ref: Mike Thomason.