Roses revenge so sweet
SEDGLEY PARK 33, DONCASTER 19: There's only one way to get over your biggest loss of the season, and that's to win a fierce, Roses battle and gain revenge for an earlier defeat.
That was how the Tigers entered this contest with Yorkshire's Doncaster, and they reaped the rewards, producing a second half show that totally eclipsed the visitors from across the Pennines to record a victory full of determination, guile and desire.
The opening minutes of the encounter featured a kicking duel between two of the division's top stand-offs, Tigers' Phil Jones and Doncaster's Rob Liley, with each attempting to give their respective sides good field position.
The first to be given an opportunity to demonstrate their points scoring prowess was Liley, who easily stroked over a 20-metre penalty on seven minutes, before doubling his side's lead on 13 minutes with another well struck kick.
Doncaster then punished Sedgley for some weak tackling with the game's opening try.
Awarded a penalty on halfway by referee Mr Bruce Robertson, Liley kicked for position, and his forwards won the resulting lineout 20 metres from the Tigers' line, and the ball was fed left to right and to Oliver Cook.
The flanker turned wing used his size and pace to swat away Shaun Woof's feeble attempt at a tackle to go over on the right, before heading for the posts to make Liley's conversion attempt that much easier, which gave the visitors a commanding 0-13 lead.
From a penalty Jones' boot gave his forwards a lineout 15 metres out from the Doncaster line.
The catchand-drive pre-empted the ball being unleashed left to right, and Jones handed off a would-be tackler before skipping over just to the right of the Donny posts to give himself an easier conversion, which he duly slotted over to make it 7-13 after 24 minutes.
Just before the half-hour he made it 10-13, and parity was then reached eight minutes before the break when he kicked a 35-metre penalty, after player-coach Tim Fourie's surge downfield had been halted illegally.
But the visitors had the last say of the opening period when Liley kicked them into a 13-16 lead. The Tigers had begun the game slowly and had been punished for their lack of hunger and application; however, in the second half they redeemed themselves inside 60 seconds.
Doncaster returned Jones' restart kick, giving the home side the put-in at a lineout on halfway.
The Tigers won possession and flanker Sam Anania drove the ball into contact, where it was recycled to hooker Richard Oxley, and he made the try with his tenacious 20-metre sprint that split Doncaster's defence.
Fourie emerged from the next ruck with the ball and switched play from right to left, fullback Arno de Jager joined the line and slipped the ball out to scrum-half Chris Wilkinson (again filling in on the wing), who used his speed to go over on the left, converted by Jones to put the Tigers in the lead for the first time at 20-16, a lead they would not relinquish.
The shock of such an early score seemed to adversely affect the visitors, who also encountered a much stiffer defensive effort from the home side in the second half, a repeat of the effort that so stifled Exeter two weeks ago.
Mr Robertson then handed Donny the advantage when he booked Oxley on 51 minutes.
But it was the home side that scored next, when Jones fired over his third and fourth penalties to stretch the lead to 26-16, before Liley's boot pegged it back to 26-19 with nine minutes to go.
Defence, as much as offence, won this game for the Tigers, with everyone on the field playing their part.
This commitment to keeping Doncaster at bay began to frustrate the visitors, who simply ran out of attacking ideas, and it was a Feeley try that sealed the game.
Having looked unsure in possession in the first half, the Tigers' top try scorer showed what a lethal finisher he can be four minutes from time.
With Donny down to 14 men for the second time, Sedgley made them pay.
From a scrum 10 metres inside Doncaster territory, the ball was fired out to the left, with de Jager bursting onto a pass from deep and scything through the Donny defence.
He edged out towards the touchline where he fed the ball back inside to Dave McCormack, who had earlier replaced the impressive Jamie Albinson.
He, in turn, slipped the ball inside to Feeley, who burst onto the pass at speed to race over by the posts to give Jones an easy two-pointer and his side a well deserved victory.
SEDGLEY PARK: de Jager, Feeley, Voortman, Woof, Wilkinson, Jones, J.Albinson (McCormack 67), Gazzola (Roberts 65), Oxley, Evans (Thomas 65), Fourie (Rowe 71), Lund, Senior, Anania, Skurr. Replacements: Keys (for Fourie, 53-64, sin bin), Livesey, T. Albinson.