DONCASTER slipped to a third straight Championship defeat as Batley Bulldogs showed their spirit to claim a dramatic last-gasp victory.
Tony Miller’s side led at various stages and matched a strong Batley side for long periods but Johnny Campbell’s last minute try settled a closely fought encounter.
Dennis Tuffour, Dan Cowling and Lee Waterman were on the try sheet for Tony Miller’s side but it was the visitors that broke the deadlock after eight minutes when big second row Dan Fleming used brute strength to force his way over the line, with Tom Hemingway adding the extras.
Dons responded well to going behind but, with defences firmly on top, full back Lee Waterman was held up in the scoring zone after a neat offload from Paul Cooke.
The home side were not to be denied, however, and some slick passing involving Craig Fawcett, Mike Emmett and Dan Cowling allowed winger Dennis Tuffour to dive over in the corner.
Dons went on to grab the lead just before half time.
Fawcett was involved in the try again, this time finding Cowling who cleverly sidestepped his man to score in the corner, with Sanderson atoning for his earlier miss.
Dons might have taken a bigger lead into the break if Waterman had not been denied a sensational try just before Cowling’s score.
The full back showed a stunning turn of pace to break from inside his own half but he was stopped in his tracks a yard from the try line.
And the home side’s fragile lead disappeared at the start of the second period when their defence parted, allowing Miles Greenwood to find a gap and score underneath the posts. In a topsy-turvy second half, the impressive Waterman claimed a deserved try to edge Doncaster ahead again just before the hour.
But their lead lasted just four minutes as more sloppy defending allowed John Davis to ride the attempted tackles and put Batley 18-16 ahead thanks to Hemmingway’s extras. Sanderson levelled it with a penalty, awarded in front of the posts for crossing, to set up a tense finish.
There was to be one final twist as Batley attacked in the last minute and worked the ball to Campbell who gratefully sprinted over to settle a nip and tuck affair.
n DONS: Waterman, Tuffour, Cowling, Leaf, Sanderson, Cooke, Fawcett, Waller, Kesik, Robinson, Kelly, Spurr, Edwards. Subs (all used): Emmett, Castle, Johnson, Butterfield.
n Attendance: 781