Fears that Doncaster could eclipse their infamous ‘Another Bloody Sunday’ campaign were allayed at the Keepmoat Stadium yesterday when they finally got off the mark at the 21st time of asking this season.
The Dons had looked to be heading for yet another defeat when Hunslet Hawks swooped to score three tries in the first ten minutes of the second half to post what looked to be a match-winning 26-6 lead.
But they produced a spirited response, the like of which had not previously been seen this season, to score 28 points without reply to claim a thrilling victory finally secured with a late Dave Scott penalty.
The Dons had former Whitehaven full-back Tom Carr on debut after missing the first five months of the season due to injury, with midweek signing Joe McLocklan, who played a few games at the start of the ill-fated 2007 campaign, also starting.
Both men played their part in the victory with McLocklan forming a useful-looking half-back partnership with Paul Mennell.
Australian prop Matt Groat made a telling return to action following a three-week ban and he posed problems throughout along with the likes of Mitch Clark.
But everyone played their part in a match that everyone connected with the club hopes will act as a game-changer in the battle against relegation.
The Dons broke the deadlock when McLocklan dummied into way into space to touch down for a converted try after a blank first quarter.
Hunslet came more into the game in the later stages of the first half and scored two well-worked tries to lead 8-6 at the break.
Given the team’s tendency for heads to go down when finding themselves adrift this season, few, if any, will have given the Dons much of a chance after Hunslet’s purple patch at the start of the second half.
Winger Peter Fox sparked off the recovery when doing well to get a touch to Mennell’s grubber-kick over the line. Clark then latched on to a loose ball to score a third try to cut the deficit o just ten points at the hour mark.
Centre Liam Welham then broke strongly down the left before finding second-rower Steve Snitch on his inside. Mennell capitalised when a defender failed to smother his grubber kick over the lne.
Groat charged over from close range for a 72nd minute converted try to put his side back in front at 32-26.
Dons: Carr; Scott, Doherty, Welham, Fox; McLocklan, Mennell; Groat, Kesik, Clark, Snitch, Musolino, Emmett. Subs: Spiers, Waller, Waterman, Wright.
Hunslet Hawks: Watson, Agoro, Maun, Gee, Barnett; Brown, Kain; Mulhearn, Lee, Casey, Walters, Mackay. Subs: Lyons, Flanagan, Yates,Trout.
Referee: Jamie Bloem.