Wath upon Dearne 17 Doncaster Phoenix 12

The packs scrum down. Picture: Malcolm Billingham
The packs scrum down. Picture: Malcolm Billingham

Doncaster Phoenix’s second successive defeat effectively ended their bid for back-to-back promotions.

Phoenix lost ground on the Yorkshire One leaders following a surprise home defeat to Scarborough earlier this month.

Phoenix's Oliver Johnson (right) is tackled by Wath's Martin Bagshaw.  Picture: Malcolm Billingham

Phoenix's Oliver Johnson (right) is tackled by Wath's Martin Bagshaw. Picture: Malcolm Billingham

So they knew anything less than victory at neighbours Wath Upon Dearne would all but end their hopes of repeating last season’s memorable Yorkshire Two title triumph.

Everything appeared to be going to plan as the Castle Park club surged into a 12-point lead with two early tries and a conversion.

But the visitors eventually had to settle for a losing bonus point as Wath launched an impressive comeback to claim victory.

Phoenix led 12-6 at the turnaround as Wath replied to the visitors’ bright start with a brace of penalties by full back Tom Quinn.

Richard Hill (right) wins line-out ball for Wath.  Picture: Malcolm Billingham

Richard Hill (right) wins line-out ball for Wath. Picture: Malcolm Billingham

But they had no answer as Quinn slotted over another penalty, and Wath scored their only try with 25 minutes remaining when centre Steve Mason raced over to put the home side in front for the first time.

Phoenix’s hopes of swinging the result back in their favour were ended when Quinn kicked his fourth penalty goal five minutes from the end, leaving them to salvage a losing bonus.

Dinnington maintained their lead at the top of the division with a 36-10 win over Heath at Halifax, while second placed Ilkley ran in nine tries in a 56-0 home romp over Bridlington.

The top two meet this weekend in what could ultimately prove to be a title decider.

Ilkley are five points adrift of Dinnington, although they do have a game in hand on the league leaders.

Third placed Phoenix are now 15 points adrift of Dinnington with just three games remaining.

Phoenix should reduce the arrears on whoever loses the top two tussle when they meet next to bottom Keighley at Castle Park.