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Board index Championship 1 Doncaster RLFC Dons down to 5th - Review of the promotion race

Posted by Double Movement on Mon Jul 15, 2019 9:03 am
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After the home loss to Whitehaven the Dons have dropped down to fifth place in the league.

The weekend results were:
Coventry 20, Hunslet 48
Dons 12, Whitehaven 22
Keighley 50, W Wales 18
Oldham 46, N Wales 30
Workington 32, London 22

Hunslet won well at Coventry to overtake the Dons. Oldham overcame an improving N Wales team to stay in second. London’s decline continued with a loss at Workington.

League One table (Games Played, Points, Points Difference)
1) Whitehaven 15, 23, +123
2) Oldham 15, 20, +221
3) Newcastle 14, 19, +189
4) Hunslet 14, 18, +202
5) Dons 15, 16, +188
6) London 15, 15, -60
7) Workington 15, 14, +34

The Dons are seven points adrift of Whitehaven with five games left to play. Whitehaven only need two wins from five to be assured of staying ahead of us. They’ve got games against Coventry and W Wales still to come. Top spot now appears beyond the Dons.

The top team is promoted automatically. Teams two to six play-off for the other promotion spot. The higher up the table a team finishes, the likelihood of home play-off games increases.

Remaining games for each team are:

Whitehaven: Hunslet (A), Workington (H), Keighley (A), W Wales (H), Coventry (A). As we realistically can’t catch Whitehaven, we could do with Whitehaven taking points off Hunslet and Workington.

Oldham: London (A), Newcastle (H), Dons (H), Coventry (A), Hunslet (A). Three wins for Oldham would probably see them finish above the Dons. I can see two likely wins but Newcastle, Dons, and Hunslet will be tricky games.

Newcastle: London (H), W Wales (A), Oldham (A), Coventry (H), N Wales (H), Keighley (A). Four wins out of six will see Newcastle finish above the Dons. It’s hard to imagine they’ll lose three of their remaining games as W Wales and Coventry are gimmies.

Hunslet: Whitehaven (A), N Wales (H), Keighley (A), London (A), Workington (H), Oldham (H). Five wins would be needed for Hunslet to definitely finish above us. With some tricky games in there, we need to set our sights on overhauling Mr Thornton.

Dons: N Wales (A), London (H), Oldham (A), Keighley (H), Workington (A).

The N Wales game is a potential banana skin. They seem to be playing well at the moment and will be all out to try to narrow the gap on Workington and London as a play-off place isn’t beyond them.

London’s drop off in form should mean we’re strong favourites for that one. Oldham away could be tricky. Keighley at home should be a home win but can’t be taken for granted. Workington away could be ‘do or die’ for Workington’s play-off hopes. That could be a tough game.

London: Newcastle (A), Oldham (H), Dons (A), Hunslet (H), N Wales (A). It’s not beyond the realms of possibility that Skolars might not win another game this season.

Workington: Keighley (H), Whitehaven (A), W Wales (H), Hunslet (A), Dons (H). With those fixtures, I’d be hopeful we may be assured of finishing above Worky before the last game of the season but the last game may decide who finishes 5th and 6th.

With Newcastle and Hunslet having a game in hand, catching them won’t be easy especially as Newcastle appear to have an easier run-in. Catching Oldham will be almost impossible unless we win at Oldham, but we’ve done that once this season.

Next weekend’s game against N Wales is vital as we can’t afford to slip up in that one or else we’ll probably then be looking at who might catch us, rather than who we might be able to overtake.

There’s not much between most of the teams in the play-off race with everyone capable of beating each other on their day. We certainly shouldn’t write off our chances of going up but doing it from 5th or 6th place would be considerably harder than doing it from 3rd or 4th place.

My best guess is that Whitehaven, Newcastle and Oldham will occupy the top three places. The Dons will fight it out with Hunslet for fourth and fifth, with Workington in sixth place, unless N Wales can push on and pressure Workington and the Dons.
Posted by Wilf Grimshaw on Mon Jul 15, 2019 12:23 pm
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Excellent analysis (as usual) DM. There is a break for us after next weekend and if we can get Boas and the four mentioned in the Whitehaven game thread back we will be in a better place. If he can get the middles sorted I would be happy even if we have to travel to Oldham or Newcastle in the playoffs.
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Posted by Double Movement on Mon Jul 15, 2019 2:07 pm
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Wilf Grimshaw wrote:
Excellent analysis (as usual) DM. There is a break for us after next weekend and if we can get Boas and the four mentioned in the Whitehaven game thread back we will be in a better place. If he can get the middles sorted I would be happy even if we have to travel to Oldham or Newcastle in the playoffs.


Thanks, Wilf. I suspect that Watson Boas might be out for quite a while yet.
Posted by DonnyPlumber on Mon Jul 15, 2019 4:50 pm
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I know it's a long shot but if we could have all our injured players back I believe we would be promoted.
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