Match report: Doncaster RLFC 18 Whitehaven 50

Liam Welham is brought down by Whitehaven's James Newton
Liam Welham is brought down by Whitehaven's James Newton

Whitehaven hammered another nail into Doncaster’s relegation coffin as they inflicted a 19th consecutive defeat league on them in the Championship clash at Castle Park.

With eleven games to go it is still not mathematically certain that the club will be playing League One rugby next season, but you would have struggled to find anyone offering even the slightest hope of survival among the Dons’ faithful as they filed out of the ground after the 50-18 defeat.

Particularly after a first half during which fellow strugglers Whitehaven, who have now won three of their last four games, were made to look like world beaters as they raced into a match-winning 38-0 interval lead.

Admittedly the visitors played well in the first 40 minutes but they were aided by some woeful tackling at times and must have been surprised how easy it was – particularly in a game the Dons had actually fancied their chances.

Some fans even backed the Dons to win but optimism quickly turned into despair and one reportedly threw his season ticket at CEO Carl Hall at the end of the first half.

Coach Gary Thornton, who has now seen his charges conceded 50 points or more in three of his four games in charge, had called upon his players to come out all guns blazing in the first quarter but apart from a couple of half chances they fired blanks.

They even conceded two early tries while Whitehaven were down to 12 men.

The Cumbrians looked all set to carry on from where they had left off when scoring two early tries to bring up the 50-point mark.

Just when it looked as though the Dons were heading for their biggest defeat of the season, they belatedly started to find a bit of form.

There were mock chants of ‘easy’ from home fans as half-back Paul Mennell shrugged off two attempted tackles to score a 55th minute try goaled by Dave Scott.

The try served to inject some confidence into the home side.

Prop Brett Waller was held up over the line and winger Peter Fox would have scored but for a wayward pass by full-back Lee Waterman, before second-rower Jansin Turget raced in at the corner for a 61st minute try superbly converted by Scott.

Captain Kyle Kesik capped a typically hard-working display with a late try, again converted by Scott, to make sure the Dons at least won the second half 18-12 but that fact was of little consolation on another bad day at the office.