If ever there was a must-win game for Doncaster, this is it. The South Yorkshire club are currently sat at the bottom of the Championship with zero points to their name but this match with fellow strugglers Workington poses a good opportunity for a win. Workington go into this fixture after a disappointing home loss against Batley in round 12.
Last Time Out
Doncaster were the visiting team to their own Keepmoat Stadium, the temporary home of Sheffield Eagles for 2015. The Dons matched the challenge of Sheffield for a while but the final quarter swung towards a win for the hosts as Kyle Briggs controlled proceedings. Doncaster took the lead on 11 minutes thanks to a try from Jansin Turgut but the advantage lasted until the final minute of the first half when Cory Aston weaved over for the Eagles. The half-time score was 6-6 and it was the Dons who regained the lead after the restart when Tom Hodson pounced on Misi Taulapapa’s indecisiveness as the former Samoan international let a bomb bounce twice. Despite decent field position in the minutes after Hodson’s score, Doncaster failed to put more points on the board and they were punished for that as Mitch Stringer barged over just before the hour mark. A Kyle Briggs interception try four minutes after Stringer’s effort put the Eagles into a six point lead, and that was worked upon even more when John Davies touched down from a Briggs grubber with ten minutes remaining. Michael Knowles scored the final try of the tie in the dying embers.
Workington welcomed Batley Bulldogs to the Zebra Claims Stadium for what was an important match for both as neither side were in the best of form. It was the Bulldogs who took the spoils away from Cumbria with a 23-10 scoreline going in their favour. The visitors had a 8-0 lead going into half-time as Scott Leatherbarrow kicked a penalty goal before Wayne Reittie scored Batley’s first try of the match. After the restart, Callum Phillips and Carl Forber both touched down to give Workington a slender lead but Leatherbarrow, once again, opted to kick a penalty goal. His attempt levelled proceedings before the Bulldogs provided the game-breaking tries courtesy of Alistair Leak and James Craven. Leatherbarrow capped off a good day with the boot with a drop-goal from 55 metres out.
Doncaster were the stronger team in their game with Sheffield last week, for the most part, but couldn’t apply the killer finish when good opportunities arose. Both of their tries were primarily set up by kicks and the half-backs, Danny Nicklas and Curtis Naughton, had far from their worst games and if they put in similar performances this weekend then Workington may well be up against it. For Town, regular halves Jamie Doran and Carl Forber took the playmaking reins but the Cumbrians had trouble dealing with Batley’s half-backs Alistair Leak and Scott Leatherbarrow. Whoever gets the better of this battle will give their team a hefty advantage on field position and attacking opportunities.
Doncaster have been getting better by the week and should have probably won a good few games this season but their clinical finishing of last season has been non-existent. Workington will be wanting to bounce back from their loss last week but the Dons will have this down as a game they need to win, just to realistically keep their season alive – Doncaster by 7
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