Doncaster 20 Batley 38: Bulldogs survive scare as Dons go down fighting

Batley Bulldogs boosted their hopes of avoiding the same fate as Doncaster with this victory in their Championship Shield clash at the Keepmoat Stadium.

If John Kear’s side do manage to hold on to their Championship status then the three wins over the South Yorkshire club will have played a big part.

With little to play for except pride after their relegation to League One was confirmed, no-one quite knew how Doncaster would react.

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But for 40 minutes at least they showed they would live up to coach Gary Thornton’s pre-match pledge that they wouldn’t just go through the motions in their remaining five games.

Playing some attractive rugby and defending well, they shocked the visitors by grabbing a 14-6 interval lead on the back of tries by the impressive Liam Welham, Ben Waller and Loto Tagoloa.

Whatever Kear said at half-time had the desired affect as Batley scored six tries against one in the second half – Wayne Reittie and Shaun Ainscough both bagging a brace.

Thornton felt it could have been a different story but for second-rower Mike Kelly dropping the ball over the line in between two second-half tries for Batley.

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Instead of trailing 18-12 with the conversion to come, Batley led 18-14, and with their forwards getting well on top they pulled well clear to lead 32-14 before centre Danny Cowling sent winger Tom Hodson over with a brilliant off-load.

Doncaster: Dave Scott; Hodson,Cowling, Welham, Fox; McLocklan, Wright; Groat; Kesik,Verlinden, Kelly, Musolino, Emmett. Substitutes: Carbutt, Waller, Walton, Tagaloa,

Batley Bulldogs: Craven; Reitte, Ainsough, Cosgrove, Squires; Southernwood, Leatherbarrow; Hirst, Blake, Gledhill, Sam Scott, Day, Brown. Substitutes: Rowe, Bretherton, Leak, Lillycrop.

Referee: M Woodhead (RFL).