DONCASTER 48 GLOUCESTERSHIRE ALL GOLDS 22
Chris Wilson at the Keepmoat Stadium, Sunday
Gloucestershire All Golds head coach Lee Greenwood was left to reflect on a ‘poor’ performance from his side that saw them exit the Challenge Cup at the hands of Doncaster.
They had competed well in the first half despite a slow start and trailed by just two points at the break. Two quick tries just before the interval brought them right back into contention after they trailed 18-4.
They were still behind by that narrow margin with fifteen minutes left but Doncaster stand off Kieran Cross almost single-handedly dragged his team into the fifth round as he added three tries to his first half score to ensure a comfortable victory.
“We’re disappointed,” Greenwood said. “It was a poor performance and we weren’t on it from the start. It’s our worst performance so far.”
With the main stadium unavailable, the game took place on the Keepmoat Athetics stadium pitch and began in sunshine but with a strong wind at the home side’s backs.
The home side took an early lead through a Liam Welham try neatly converted by Jack Miller after four minutes’ play.
Slowly, the All Golds recovered from their slow start and only superb goalline defence stopped them from adding to Chris Barlow’s well-taken score following an interception by Jack Mitchell and 60-metre dash by Mo Agoro.
The Dons began to get on top and they looked to extend their advantage. Cross was held up under the posts before he escaped three defenders down the left wing to score. Four minutes later, he sent in Louis Sherriff with a well-timed pass. Jack Miller’s goal made it 18-4 and the Dons looked to be going in at half time with a healthy lead.
However, they switched off and Steve Parry stole a try with a dummy half scoot from ten metres out before scoring again from a set play right on the hooter.
Kieran Hyde converted both and the 18-16 scoreline was a much fairer reflection of the first 40 minutes. Greenwood though felt his side were fortunate to be so close. “Doncaster got on top of us,” he explained. “We were poor in contact all game.”
Having seized the momentum before the break the All Golds looked to carry it on afterwards and they were helped when Miller put the restart out on the full.
Barlow almost scored following a neat Hyde kick that took a favourable bounce. But after some good offloading from the home forwards was spoiied by a wild pass that turned over possession, the Dons found space up the middle and Cross finished Sherriff’s fine break for a converted try.
Both sides were conceding penalties when in possession and after Richie Barnett had been ruled to have interfered with Jack Mitchell at marker, the All Golds spread the ball left for Brad Kislingbury to touch down in the corner. Hyde’s conversion restored the two-point difference between the sides.
As the Dons pressed for more points a kick through almost rebounded to Mitchell but with a clear field in front of him, he lost the ball giving Doncaster possession once again. They didn’t waste it and Sherriff found a gap to score with Cross again being the provider.
The All Golds had to be the next to score but, with 12 minutes left Cross made the decisive intervention.
After the All Golds conceded back to back penalties, Cross stepped through to score his third of the game. Five minutes later, he went over again from close range to give his side the breathing space of a three-score lead with barely five minutes remaining.
The All Golds searched for a consolation score but the Dons’ defence was in no mood to give them one and they extended their lead when Welham muscled his way over for his second try before Miller booted his eighth goal with a penalty after the full-time siren.
“We were in the game with 15 minutes to go but finished poorly,” Greenwood concluded. “We’ve made a good start to the season but today was poor,” he added. The All Golds now face a long trip to Workington with the aim of regaining the early momentum of their season.
DONCASTER: Louis Sheriffe; Sam Doherty, Liam Welham, Chris Heil, Richie Barnett; Kieran Cross, Jack Miller; Zac Braham, Kyle Kesik, Mark Castle; Brad England, Charlie Martin; Russ Spiers; Subs: Ryan Wright, Iafeta Palea’aesina, Makaili Aizue, Jamie Thackray.
Tries: Welham (6, 77), Cross (28, 49, 68, 73), Serriff (32, 64)
Goals: Miller 8/9
ALL GOLDS: Alex Gaskell; Mo Agoro, Phil Cowburn, Brad Kislingbury, Chris Barlow; Jack Mitchell, Kieran Hyde; Ollie Purslow, Steve Parry, Harry Kidd; Joe McClean, Chris Worrall; Billy Brickhill; Subs: Kadeem Williams, Harrison Elliott, Jordan Andrade, James Walter
Tries: Barlow (15), Parry (35, 37), Kislingbury (57)
Goals: Hyde 3/4
Referee: Matthew Rossleigh
All Golds Man of the Match: Alex Gaskell