WHITEHAVEN gave the perfect response to their Good Friday mauling at Workington when they administered their own hammering to Doncaster.
Beaten 40-0 at the Zebra Claims Stadium three days earlier, Haven added to Donny’s problem and left them still pointless with a convincing 41-16 victory.
A relieved coach James Coyle said: “We challenged the players after the Town game to give us a response. They have been showing us in training but not taking it out on the park.
“It was very pleasing to see the players executing the moves we had specifically designed to test Doncaster and they came off well.
“The win has given them all confidence now to move forward and it’s going to make team selection interesting for our game at Hunslet on Sunday.”
Hunslet, along with Town and Haven have four points with Doncaster bottom of the pile still to open their account.
It had been advertised around the town as a must-win game for Haven and Coyle made changes after the Workington disaster.
Sam Brooks and Ed Chamberlain made their first Haven appearances while Ted Chapelhow, one of the few players to walk away from Workington with his head held high, started in the second row.
It was probably, though, the decision to pair Dion Aiye (Haven’s best player against Town) with the returning John Paul Brocklebank at half-back which proved to be the most decisive decision.
Aiye and Brocklebank made a big difference, sparking Haven with their enterprising work around the park.
They got off to a flier after the kick-off was knocked-on. It was Aiye who supplied a lovely pass out wide for Jessie Joe Parker to put Craig Calvert in at the corner. Brocklebank converted from the touchline.
Then more problems for Doncaster meant they had to drop-out and Stephen Bannister put Widnes youngster Chamberlain in for the first of his two tries. He cleverly stepped full-back Dave Scott on his way over and Brocklebank added the extras.
A couple of penalties nudged Donny forward and eventually they reduced the arrears with a close range try from Danny Nicklas which Scott converted.
The game was ell-balanced at 12-6 and both teams went close to scoring – Brocklebank for Haven and Brett Waller for the visitors.
It was Tyla Hepi who came up with the all-important third try for Haven, twisting free from a tackle to get the ball over the line. Brocklebank converted.
It got better before the break when Scott McAvoy charged over for the fourth try and Brocklebank’s conversion made it 24-6 at the interval.
More good work from Hepi set-up James Newton for the next score soon after the resumption and Brocklebank’s conversion meant Haven were cruising.
But then two Doncaster tries hinted at a come-back. Lee Waterman put in former England international Peter Fox before Ben Reynolds followed-up a kick to score. Scott converted the second.
The fight-back stopped there as Whitehaven found their rhythm again. Brocklebank’s nicely-weighted kick presented Chamberlain with his second try.
Brocklebank, who also landed a drop goal, got five out of his six conversion attempts.
The final score was his conversion to Calvert’s second try of the afternoon, created by a thrilling 50 metre dash by Chamberlain.
Haven: Lepori, Chamberlain, Bannister, Parker, Calvert, Aiye, Brocklebank, Davies, Coyle, Chapelhow, Lloyd, McAvoy, Allen. Subs (all used) : Hepi, Brooks, Newton, Fox.