Doncaster vs Cornwall – Match Report
August 20, 2023
Cornwall’s faint play-off hopes were ended by Doncaster as they scored 60 points without reply for a second successive match as they whitewashed Mike Abbott’s side.
The home side, who defeated London Skolars by the same scoreline nine days previously, ran in 11 unanswered tries to ensure they will finish no lower than third in the Betfred League standings.
Richard Horne’s side still have an outside chance of claiming second going into the final round of fixtures. They will need to beat champions Dewsbury on home soil while hoping Hunslet slip up at Workington with a 60-point swing overturned.
Unlikely? Yes. But on the evidence of this showing against Cornwall, not beyond the realms of possibility.
Especially with former Super League stars Mahe Fonua and Albert Vete in their ranks and Bureta Faraimo hopefully, from a Doncaster point of view, receiving clearance to make his bow for Horne’s charges against the Championship bound Rams.
Although Cornwall, who lost influential duo Tom Ashton and Cameron Brown to injury in the second half never raised the white flag, the game was in the bag for Doncaster after the opening stanza in which they led 28-0.
It took Fonua, who was making his Doncaster debut, just four minutes to open the scoring when he crashed onto a flat ball to register and Connor Robinson added the first of eight successful conversions from eleven eventual attempts.
Cornwall then held out until the 16th minute when Ben Johnston scored again for the home side with Fonua somehow grounding the ball when it appeared he had been held up.
The game then descended into something of a scrappy affair with both teams guilty of errors and Doncaster benefiting from a lop sided penalty count. Cornwall would have seen it as something of a mini-victory to only go in at the break 18-0 down but two further Doncaster tries before the siren put them well in control.
Hooker Greg Burns pinched one from dummy-half and with the last play of the half, Tom Halliday plucked Robinson’s cross field kick out of the air to score. Cornwall felt that winger Mackenzie Scurr had been impeded by his opposite number and Brown was sent to the sinbin for taking his protests too far.
Eight minutes after the restart and with Cornwall still down to 12, Halliday scored again but once back to a full complement, the visitors enjoyed a sustained spell of pressure in Doncaster territory.
Twice Brown forced repeat sets after the home side were forced to knock the ball dead in goal with their outstanding hooker Luke Collins leading the Cornwall charge.
But Doncaster managed to weather the storm and 17 minutes from time, Papua New Guinea international Watson Boas, on at interchange, broke clear and streaked home from 30 metres out.
Cornwall, who were out of interchanges at this point then shipped further tries from winger Travis Corion and Brett Ferres before the game entered its final stages.
The one-way traffic continued as time ticked down with Vete grabbing his second, a feat matched by Corion who scored the try of the game inside the final ninety seconds when he broke from half-way, showed Liam Whitton a clean pair of heels, and managed to touch down.
Doncaster: Guzdek, Halliday, Hey, Fonua, Corion, Johnston, Robinson, Vete, Burns, Knowles, Smeaton, Ferres, McConnell. Interchange: (al used) Boas, Holdstock. James, Foster.
Tries: Fonua (4,23), Johnston (16), Burns (38), Halliday (39, 48), Boas (63), Corion (67,77), Ferres (70), Vete (75)
Goals: Robinson 8/11
Cornwall: Whitton, Nichol, Croston, Ashton, Scurr, Brown, Punchard, Hartshorne, Collins, E Badham, Cullen, Weetman, Lloyd. Interchange: (all used) Barraclough, Dimech, I Badham, Trerise.
Sinbin: Brown (39) – dissent
Referee: Andrew Sweet