DONCASTER’S return to the Co-operative Championship got off to a disappointing start after a narrow 22-16 opening day defeat to Dewsbury.
Tony Miller’s side trailed for the majority of a largely frustrating afternoon against a well-drilled Dewsbury outfit and paid the price for an edgy first half display.
Two second half tries from new signing Dennis Tuffour ensured a tense finale but the Rams were decent value for their win as Doncaster’s handling in attacking areas let them down.
Doncaster were given something of a rude awakening before the break as the incisive visitors opened up a 16-6 half time lead.
Rams hooker Ryan Wright did well to hold onto an up and under and offloaded to Aaron Brown who broke the deadlock on seven minutes, although former Don Scott Spaven somehow missed the conversion from straight in front.
Following an error strewn opening to the game, the home side eventually made a period of good territory count when, at the midway point of the half, newly named skipper Kyle Kesik collected a short pass and burrowed under the posts from two yards out.
Lee Waterman added the extras to put the Dons ahead, but their lead was all too brief.
Adam O’Brien brilliantly dummied his way over the line from close range and Spaven this time found his range.
And minutes later Dewsbury increased their lead to ten points with another converted try when Brown showed good strength to hold off his man to find O’Brien who barged his way over between the posts.
The second period started on more of an even keel and, after surviving a period of pressure, Doncaster grabbed a vital breakaway try to get them back into the game, Waterman finding Tuffour who powered his way over in the corner. The deficit remained at six points, however, with Goulding unable to make a difficult kick from out wide.
Spaven missed a 40-metre penalty for the Rams as the visitors attempted to give themselves some breathing space.
And they did just that ten minutes from time when man of the match Brown picked up the ball 40 metres out and swerved through the Dons defence for a classy score.
Tuffour touched down again to set up an interesting climax after a neat kick from Paul Cooke.
And the Dons were denied what they thought was a good try in the dying moments when Liam Kay went over, only for his effort to be ruled out for a forward pass, meaning Doncaster had to settle for a losing bonus point.
* Dons: Waterman, Tuffour, Cunningham, Cowling, Kay, Cooke, Fawcett, Castle, Kesik, Waller, Kelly, Spurr, Emmett. Subs: Broughton, Powley, Carbutt, Goulding.