Doncaster Match Report
Classy Dons teach Bears a lesson
Doncaster 70 Coventry 10
By Mike Hyde
The League 1 season kicked off in earnest on Sunday with the Bears first game being a tough away game at much-fancied Doncaster. There was a good crowd at the Keepmoat Stadium as Doncaster fans came out to support a team which has strengthened considerably in the close season and has a close relationship with Superleague Hull F.C.
The Bears meanwhile had also been busy in the close season, recruiting players from across the Midlands and getting them to start performing as a cohesive unit.
At first the Dons were rather shaky, and the Bears took an early lead on five minutes following a Dons error. Hayden Freeman crossed the line, but Paul Emanuelli was unable to capitalise on the conversion.
The Dons pulled back just three minutes later with a try from Jason Tali, and then four minutes later they were over again, courtesy of Brad England and with both tries converted it stood at 12-4.
That score remained until Bears’ Lewis Lord sneaked over, with Emanuelli putting the ball between the sticks this time. Dons 12 Bears 10, game on…………..
However, the home side were quick to respond and the 8 point margin was quickly restored.
Then with two minutes to go before the half time hooter, the Dons stepped up a gear and ran in two tries in quick succession, blows from which the Bears were never to recover as they went into the dressing room 30-10 down.
The Bears came out in a determined mood, but gradually the hosts took over again, scoring steadily every five minutes and usually managing to convert.
With twelve minutes left, the dreaded half century was reached as the Dons made it 52-10.
The procession of home tries continued but Vitalini gave the small band of travelling Coventry supporters something to cheer about as he crossed the line for the Bears only to have it disallowed which rather summed up the days outing.
The final score of 70-10 was a disappointment but Doncaster were clearly the better side and already look like being at or very near the top come the seasons end, with Hakim Miloudi a star turn, scoring a club record of 32 points in a game.
So, a setback, but not an unexpected defeat for the Bears, and now coach Tom Tsang will be looking ahead to Cup action next Sunday at the Butts Park arena when the Bears face Cumbrian side Dristington in a 3pm kick-off.
DONS XIII | Owen, Jones-Bishop, Bower, Tali, Doherty, Miller, Harris, Boyle, Kesik, Scott, England, Martin, Hedges. Interchange: Braham, Spiers, Cross, Miloudi (D/R).
DONS TRIES | Tali (7 & 49), England (11), Spiers (26 & 36), Harris (33 & 77), Braham (47), Miloudi (60, 66, 70 & 80). DONS GOALS | Miller (7, 11 & 26), Miloudi (33, 36, 47, 49, 66, 70, 77, 80)
COVENTRY XIII | Chapman, Freeman, Morley-Samuels, Clarke, Carter, Emanuelli, Stead, Geurtjens, Lord, Thomas, Sherratt, Barratt, Vitalini. Interchange: Hughes, Bass, Beddows, Gover.
COVENTRY TRIES | Freeman (5), Lord (22) COVENTRY GOALS | Stead (22)