Workington Town 22 Doncaster 12

Workington Town earned their place in the fifth round of the Challenge Cup with a strong showing at home to beat league rivals Doncaster 22-12.

While Town’s performance in their win against West Bowling had been sluggish and wasteful, it was obvious in the opening moments that they were a different beast this time out.

Despite that it was Doncaster who drew first blood as a flowing move saw Jason Tali collect the ball at speed and motor over. Matty Beharrell converted and the hosts were six points down after five minutes.

They did not let the setback rattle them and responded with sustained pressure on the Dons’ line but they stood firm, even after losing Russ Spiers to the sin bin for a high tackle on Marcus O’Brien.

For all their dominance of territory, the home side had no reward and they had to show their own organisation at the other end as the Dons hit back.

Having got through a spell with solid defence, Caine Barnes looked to draw his team level when he charged through Doncaster’s left-hand side and span past a defender, but his final pass let him down when the visitors were exposed.

The breakthrough finally came for Town when Jamie Doran danced close to the posts and dissected the defence with a grubber kick for Hanley Dawson to dive on the ball for his first try for the club. Forber added the extras and the scores were level after 31 minutes.

Town had been good value for their equaliser but parity didn’t last long as Doncaster pinned the home side back in their half with a kick and Tali was able to skip in again after Brad Foster broke a tackle and slipped in his team-mate seconds before the hooter. Beharrell converted again to give the travellers a six-point lead at the break.

Town had work to do following the restart but there were few opportunities in a tight opening 10 minutes of the half.

Normal service resumed after that, with Town piling plenty of pressure on Doncaster’s defence and they eventually made all of their possession and territory count after the introduction of Blain Marwood for Tom Curwen.

It turned out to be an inspired substitution as he collected the ball from Elliott Miller – who was every bit as physical and effective as he had been before his injury – 10 metres out and dived over the line to set up a Forber conversion which made it 12-12 on 58 minutes.

Doncaster didn’t keep Town out for long as Forber elected to kick within 10 metres of the line and Doran who got to it first to put the home side ahead for the first time. Forber’s extras made it 18-12 with 13 minutes to play.

Young Marwood was at the heart of another good move which put Elliot Hall in as Town stretched their lead. Forber missed the conversion but Town were 10 points up in the final 10 minutes.

The visitors had one last charge at the Town line but a spirited defence, led by the evergreen Fuifui Moimoi, kept them out.