Doncaster deny OA dream
- Credit: Malcolm Billingham
There was some soul searching amongst playing staff and spectators after this first visit to Castle Park last Saturday, writes Brian Quinn.
Doncaster have topped this division from the first weekend of the current campaign yet their season has been far from perfect. They have lost four times, all away from home, and have been given a few frights, noticeably by Blaydon who came within moments of completing the double over the Championship aspirants. Hopes of another shock in Yorkshire were not unreasonable but Donny were ultimately worthy of their win.
There was not much between the sides; however, as so often, the devil was in the detail. The hosts were a tad faster to react than Albanians, particularly at the breakdown and when an advantage showed Doncaster were, at important points in the match, over the ball a little quicker than their opponents.
For once the visitors’ lineout did not provide the steady stream of decent possession everyone has come to expect. Again nothing major went wrong but enough went awry to deny OAs a greater share of good ball. The scrum, to say the least, was solid enough.
Sufficient was achieved around the field to show there was little disparity between the sides in open play and, after Jamie Lennard had opened the scoring with a second minute penalty Chris Lombaard waltzed through the hosts’ defence for the first try. Lawrence Rayner’s conversion attempt came back off the upright. It was to be over an hour before Albanians troubled the scorer again.
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Donny retook the lead two minutes later when fullback Jacob Woodhouse crossed wide out, too far away for Lennard’s conversion. The lead was extended on twenty three minutes when, with A’s reduced to fourteen men, Bevon Armitage crossed by the posts. Lennard’s conversion gave his side a ten point lead.
Albanians camped in Doncaster territory up to the break but the home defence proved up to the task. Lennard increased the advantage with a penalty seven minutes after the restart and Chris Walker completed the home scoring with a smart try after brilliant work by scrum half Bruno Bravo.
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Then Lennard was sin-binned and Albanians won great field position time after time. Again the home defence held firm. Returned to full strength Doncaster laid siege to the OA line for fully ten minutes hoping for the bonus point. Albanian defenders earned praise all around the ground for their efforts as the game drew to a close and their trials were rewarded just on full time. Stefan Liebenberg saw the gap and broke upfield with Mike Allan in support. Ross Hamilton was on hand after an eighty metre dash to go over in the corner.
The Yorkshire connection continues next Saturday when Wharfedale visit Woollams. Kick-off 3pm