DONCASTER DONS: Fawcett keeps alive Dons’ faint hopes of league title

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Oldham 22 Doncaster 46

CRAIG Fawcett produced an outstanding man-of-the-match performance as Doncaster turned on the style at Oldham to retain their hopes of finishing top of Co-operative Championship One.

The scrum-half laid on three tries in the first half for Chris Spurr, Mike Kelly and Dean Colton and then scored twice himself in the second half as Doncaster gave coach Tony Miller exactly the response he wanted to last week’s defeat at Whitehaven.

Full-back Lee Waterman also scored a brace of tries - the first from dummy half close to the line, the second a thrilling length-of-the-field solo effort in which he collected an Oldham restart kick under the Doncaster posts, smashed through the challenge of John Clough and stepped round Oldham full-back Miles Greenwood to go the full distance.

Miller’s men were 16-0 up in 12 minutes, Waterman scoring his first out wide on the left before centre Spurr crashed over on the other side of the field on Fawcett’s perfectly-flighted pass.

Fawcett’s clever little chip set up the try for Kelly, and with Paul Cooke adding a couple of conversions Miller’s men were soon threatening to run away with it against a down-in-the-dumps home side.

Oldham simply couldn’t cope with Doncaster’s exciting attacking style; the power of men like Spurr and Waterman; and the guile and creativity of the clever Fawcett, whose inch-perfect cross-kick paved the way for Colton’s try before Waterman thundered home to give the visitors a commanding 28-10 interval lead.

Three tries by full-back Greenwood, each of them engineered by stand-off Neil Roden, kept the Roughyeds in touch at 16-28 before Fawcett then took matters into his own hands by twice bamboozling Oldham’s defensive line with dummies and shimmies to score solo tries in the 54th and 65th minutes.

Doncaster looked hungry for even more points and, true to form, they scored their eighth and final try ten minutes from the end when Cooke turned the ball inside to a rampaging Mark Castle, who smashed through two tackles to score near the posts.

Clough scored a consolation fourth try for Oldham two minutes from the end, but it couldn’t take the gloss off an impressive Doncaster performance which augurs well for their fortunes in the forthcoming top-six play-offs.

Oldham: Greenwood; Onyango, Cookson, McCully, Murphy; Roden, Dallimore; Boults, Thompson, Gilchrist, Noone, Ward, Clarke. Subs: Bentley, Clough, Stenchion, Acton.

Doncaster: Waterman; Sanderson, Spurr, Walshaw, Colton; Cooke, Fawcett; Castle, Kesik, Spiers, Kelly, Emmett, Hughes. Subs: Powley, Robinson, Lawton, Edwards.

Referee: M Kidd.