Doncaster 16 Featherstone 28: Dons relegation confirmed as Cooke suffers mixed emotions

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It will have been a day of mixed emotions for veteran half-back Paul Cooke as Featherstone Rovers picked up a 28-16 Championship Shield win over Doncaster at the Keepmoat Stadium.

Cooke, who joined Rovers in mid-season after parting company with the Dons, will have been pleased to see his current club collect their second successive Shield win as they bid to make up for the disappointment of missing out on the Middle 8s.

But he will also been saddened to see his former club lose their long-running battle against relegation from the Championship just 12 months after steering them to fourth place.

He will also know, as will successor Gary Thornton, that had they produced more performances like this then they wouldn’t have found themselves so hopelessly adrift.

Doncaster threw down the gauntlet from the off and former England winger Peter Fox claimed a well-worked try after just three minutes.

Rovers edged into a 6-4 lead on six minutes when Tim Spears touched down from close range for a try converted by Paul Sykes.

Doncaster hit back to lead 10-6 on 12 minutes when Matt Groat ploughed over near enough for full-back Dave Scott to convert.

Rovers suffered a blow on 18 minutes when losing influential scrum-half Paul Mennell with a likely career-ending knee injury.

Doncaster retained the lead until Steve Snitch touched down for a converted try just before the break. There were chances at both ends before Matt James crashed over from close range on 54 minutes.

When Alex Foster crossed on 68 minutes to make it 24-10 that looked to be it. But Doncaster weren’t done and Scott, who also added the extras, raced in from 30 metres seven minutes later.

Kyran Johnson bagged a late try for Rovers.

Doncaster: Scott; Hodson, Doherty, Welham, Fox; McLocklan, Mennell; Groat, Kesik, Verlinden, Kelly, Musolino, Emmett. Substitutes: Spiers, Foster, Wright, Tagaloa.

Featherstone Rovers: Hardman; Johnson, Sykes, Foster, Sharp; Cooke,Moore; Baldwinson, Ellis, Bussey, Cording, Snitch, Spears. Substitutes: Day, James, Tagg, Ormonroyd.

Referee: D Merrick (RFL).