Match report: Doncaster 12 Featherstone 28

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DONS suffered a television blackout as Featherstone Rovers turned on the style at the Keepmoat Stadium.

Last night’s Championship game had been scheduled for live coverage on Premier Sports, potentially useful free PR for Doncaster as the club desperately attempts to drum up more support.

But producers were forced to pull the plug on coverage due to a technical fault on board one of the satellite trucks and the game will be replayed as ‘nearly live’ today.

It will make difficult viewing for anyone of a Doncaster persuasion as Tony Miller’s side slipped to a seventh straight league defeat.

Dons fronted up to Featherstone for the majority of a hard-hitting contest and were by no means outclassed by last season’s Championship league leaders.

But, just as Paul Cooke had pointed out in the build-up to this game, Doncaster’s small errors are being punished ruthlessly at this level - and a powerful Rovers outfit continued that pattern as they got stronger as the game wore on.

Rather like the satellite truck parked outside, the home side’s usually well-drilled defence did not function as planned.

Dons started brightly and actually broke the deadlock after eight minutes when the ball was shifted right for Danny Cowling to go over in the corner and Cooke kicked the extras. But for the rest of the night, the hosts had their work cut out at both ends.

Greg Worthington collected the ball 30 metres out and showed Mick Butterfield a clean pair of heels to power through midway through the first half, and the trusty boot of Liam Finn levelled it at 6-6.

Dons were suddenly on the back foot and Chris Spurr had no answer to the power of Tim Spears who bulldozered his way over from close range for another Finn converted score.

Dennis Tuffour thought he had scored in the right corner after collecting from Cowling as Dons continued to press but a foot in touch denied the hosts a second try.

Tuffour was then involved at the other end, but his powerful tackle proved to be in vain and Tommy Saxton picked up the loose ball to touch down in the corner.

Cooke added a penalty before the break to reduce the deficit but it was always going to be an uphill struggle for Dons to turn the game around, and so it proved as Saxton and Lamont Bryan added second half tries for Rovers.

Butterfield added a late consolation try, with Cooke again converting, but despite Doncaster’s late rally they failed to rescue a losing bonus point.