North Wales Crusaders 8 Doncaster RLFC 44: Clinical display by Dons
Doncaster RLFC threw down the gauntlet to their League One promotion rivals with a 44-8 win over North Wales Crusaders at the Queensway Stadium.
With the Dons displaying the sort of clinical finishing missing in their three previous games, the result was a foregone conclusion by half-time as they led 30-0.
The second half was more of a contest but Dons finished strongly and scored two late tries.
The Dons opened the scoring on 12 minutes – last season’s top try-scorer Jason Tali producing a clever off-load to send veteran winger Richie Barnett over for second try in as many games.
Full-back Tom Carr pulled the resulting conversion wide.
The Dons went close through second-rower Charlie Martin, who is looking to be an astute close-season signing from Keighley by Gary Thornton.
Crusaders tested the Doncaster defence but he Dons weathered the pressure and extended the lead to 10-0 with a close-range try by Howden who did well to ground the ball over the line. Carr added the extras.
Crusaders fell further behind on the half-hour when former Super League star Jamie Thackray managed to offload to the supporting Howden.
The veteran forward, pictured, conjured up some more magic handling out of the tackle to send Cross in from just outside the North Wales 20. Carr converted both to secure his side a 22-0 lead. Prop Russ Spiers, following good work by Ryan Wright, and Cross, capitalised on good handling by Tali and Barnett, both crossing for unconverted tries before the break.
Crusaders continued to struggle to prevent the visitors getting the ball away in the tackle and Feka Paleaasina’s offload gave Wright the chance to put Tali in again.
The home side gave their supporters something to cheer 12 minutes after the restart when winger Bloomfield scored out wide.
Giving a much-better account of themselves in the second half, Crusaders would have made further inroads on the hour but for prop Kenny Baker knocking on with a clear run to the line.
They then did well to deny Carr a try six minutes later before claiming a second try through Hurst who found himself in space wide out.
The Dons are again held up over the line, this time prop Mark Castle. They remained on the attack and Tali bagged his second on 75 minutes.
Louis Sheriff crossed at the death for a try under the posts goaled by skipper Kyle Kesik.
* North Wales Crusaders: Johnson, Lee, Mulkeen, Hurst, Bloomfield, Price,Smith, Walker, Hudson, Baker, Houghton, Warburton, Dandy. Subs: Moore, Cookson, Thompson, Turner.
* Dons: Carr, Sheriff, Welham, Tali, Barnett, Howden,Cross; Scott, Kesik, Castle, Martin, Muranka. Subs:Paleaaesina, Thackray, Spiers, Wright.