Doncaster RLFC 28 Keighley Cougars 14: Dons give complete display to stay fourth in table
Doncaster RLFC produced their best 80-minute display of the season to beat Keighley Cougars 28-14 at the Keepmoat Stadium to retain fourth spot in League One.
The game was evenly balanced at the break – though the12-10 scoreline probably flattered Keighley – but the home side finished the stronger in a game which was a tremendous advert for League One.
Varying their tactics well, the Dons dominated the opening quarter with props Russ Spiers and Zac Braham posing problems for Keighley.
But for a forward pass by second-rower Charlie Martin to Jason Tali, the centre would have cashed in on an overlap in the Keighley 20 and opened Doncaster’s account on 15 minutes.
It took the visitors 23 minutes to seriously threaten winger Harry Aaronson going close to a try in the corner after some snappy handling.
The Dons deservedly broke the deadlock when Tali, pictured, handed off several defenders on a strong run to the line. Jack Miller added the extras.
Keighley full-back Liam Darville putting Nathan Conroy over from close range for a 33rd minute try to level, goaled by Matty Beharrell.
There was a let-off for the home side when prop Brad Nicholson, who spent last season at the Keepmoat, failed to hold onto a try-scoring pass under the posts.
The Dons regained the lead on 38 minutes, hooker Ryan Wright rounding off a move started off by Tali deep inside their own half. Miller again added the extras to make it 12-6.
Cougars cut the deficit to just two points with an unconverted try by powerful centre Adam Ryder.
The Dons were quick out of the blocks on the restart but it was the visitors who drew first blood – Ryder taking two defenders over with him on 45 minutes to earn his side a 14-12 lead.
Spiers capped an impressive game when forcing his way past a couple of defenders from ten metres out on 51 minutes to present Miller with a an easy conversion to make it 18-14.
Full-back Jordie Hedges pulled off a vital catch to deny Beharrell a probable try after the half-back had got free and tried to chip him 20 metres out.
But it was 24-14 within a minute as Martin, enjoying his best game in Dons colours, broke to send Jordan Howden over for a converted try.
The Dons had a second try for a forward pass disallowed on 58 minutes
Miller’s 62nd minute penalty left Keighley needing to score at least two converted tries to salvage a result.
They would have had one but for Sam Doherty forcing Aaronson into touch just short of the line. A second Miller penalty nailed the final nail into Keighley’s coffin.
Doncaster: Hedges, Doherty, Tali, Welham, Barnett, Howden. Miller; Spiers, Kesik, Braham, Martin, England, Green. Subs: Wright, Scott, Aizue, Jones-Bishop.