Doncaster 44 Workington Town 32

It's very rare in sport that teams are afforded a "free-hit"– but Workington Town had the unique scenario of having a dress rehearsal against next week’s opponents Doncaster.

The Keepmoat Stadium result, barring a mathematical impossibility, was a dead rubber – with head coach Leon Pryce having the opportunity to rest key men and give some players some much-needed game-time ahead of next week’s play-off showdown with the same opponents.

Pryce made four changes, compared to the home side’s six - with key man Oliver Wilkes having the afternoon off. Half-back Jamie Doran was named on the bench, while Sam Forrester started the game at stand-off.

The visitors made the worst possible start by fumbling the ball in their first set of six and Doncaster punished them to the full when good hands along the line saw Town short of cover and Jack Sanderson’s timely offload presented Jack Logan with the chance to force his way over.

However, Town responded superbly to level matters with their first foray of note when Jacob Moore was held up but Forrester dabbed a clever grubber kick into space on the last and Tyler Mellor timed his chase to perfection to touch down smartly.

However, Town’s joy proved short-lived as Doncaster regained their advantage when Joe Hambley was forced into touch and Liam Harris darted away from the base of the scrum to pave the way for Sanderson to burrow his way to the line from close-range.

Town found themselves with a mountain to climb when Matty Beharrell ghosted under the posts following superb work from Harris and Sanderson in the build-up before an unlucky ricochet fell into the path of Richard Owen, who presented Aaron Jones-Bishop with the chance to notch the home side’s fourth score of the afternoon.

Town were struggling to assert their authority on the game but they were handed a timely lifeline when Kieran Cross was shown a yellow-card for a high tackle on Carl Forber.

Pryce’s men made their numerical advantage count when they inched towards the home line and fine flowing hands, involving Sean Penkywicz and Forber, presented Moore with the chance to dart over from close-range.

However, Town suffered a body blow just seconds before the hooter sounded when good work from Harris and Sanderson gave Logan a glimpse of the line and the home centre forced his way over, despite the attentions of a number of visiting defenders.

With the words of Pryce ringing in their ears, Town came out fired-up at the start of the second half and they were rewarded when Moore grabbed his second try of the afternoon following good work by Penkywicz.

However, Doncaster effectively sealed the deal with back-to-back scores when firstly Jason Muranka successfully reached for the line one-handed before Harris showed fleet of foot to leave Town defenders in a haze, as the Hull player waltzed under the posts.

To their credit, Town refused to throw in the towel and Penkywicz gave the score a little more respectability when he forced his way to the whitewash with a purposeful run.

Near the end, Sanderson added a further score for the hosts when he darted over from close range – before Hambley and Fuifui Moimoi notched late consolation scores for Town.

Despite the nature of the scoreline in South Yorkshire, Pryce may read little into yesterday’s hors d’oeuvres – with the play-off prize up for grabs next weekend.

Match Facts

Doncaster: Sanderson, Doherty, Logan, Jones-Bishop, Owen, Harris, Beharrell, Spiers, Kesik, Osborne, England, Mariano, Muranka. Subs: Cross, Madani, Martin, Scott.

Tries: Logan (2, 40), Sanderson (11, 69), Beharrell (18), Jones-Bishop (21), Muranka (48), Harris (51).

Goals: Beharrell 6/8

Town: Mellor, Rooke, Patrick, Maudling, Hambley, Forrester, Forber, Dawson, Newton, Dickinson, Morris, Moore, Olstrom. Subs: Doran, Penkywicz, Moi Moi, Scholey.

Tries: Mellor (6), Moore (37, 45), Penkywicz (56), Hambley (75), Moimoi (80) Goals:- Forber 4/6

Penalties: 5 – 10

Referee: Tom Crashley

Attendance: 689

Star Man: Jacob Moore