St Helens became the first side into the fifth round of the Challenge Cup as they defeated Doncaster, from National League One, with plenty to spare last night.
Unbeaten in Super League, Saints rested four regulars but were still too good for the brave visitors who kept them out for much of the first half before shipping tries. Jamie Lyon led the way with five goals, a try and a big part in two others.
The last time Doncaster were at Knowsley Road in the league 12 years ago, they won and went top of the old First Division. Nobody expected that level of heroics from them last night but they made a solid start standing up to Saints' early pressure and supplied some of their own when Lyon, of all people, knocked on from Shaun Leaf's kick. Saints were making more mistakes than they do against League opposition, but they got down to business after 18 minutes when Kieron Cunningham's strength took him over from dummy half.
Even then, Doncaster got the ball back from the kick-off when Francis Meli fumbled, but a promising attack rebounded on them when Lyon scooped up Graham Holroyd's kick and went almost the full length of the field before sending Sean Long in. With Lyon's two conversions, the aristocrats were on their way to imposing their will.
Saints were still struggling to get into top gear but there was real quality about their next try, with Lyon's kick sitting up for his grateful wing partner, Ade Gardner. James Roby, one of Saints' most promising fringe players, made the break to set up Vinnie Anderson for the next try as the part-timers' defence started to look leg-weary.
Long's clever kick set up the irrepressible Lyon for the second half's first try and there was little resistance left when Lee Gilmour's run set up Paul Wellens for the sixth try.
Wellens made it two in two minutes when the Great Britain full-back capitalised on a defence-splitting play by Paul Anderson and Jon Wilkin. Ian Hardman's pass then put Meli in the corner as Saints hammered at an exhausted defence.
Doncaster, to their eternal credit, dug deep for a good 10 minutes after that, until Maurie Fa'asavalu fended off a series of tackles to cross the line. A conversion from Hardman brought up the 50.
Fa'asavalu was another to make it a quick double, but Doncaster got the reward they deserved three minutes from the end when their prop forward, Gareth Handford, tracked over for a try which, in its way, was the evening's most popular.
St Helens: Wellens, Gardner, Lyon, Hardman, Meli, Pryce, Long, Graham, Cunningham, Fa'asavalu, Bennett, Wilkin, Gilmour. Substitutes used: Roby, P Anderson, V Anderson, Fozzard.
Doncaster: Royston, Colton, Ross, Newlove, Mills, Holroyd, Leaf, Handford, Jordan, Tonks, Green, Robinson, Lawton. Substitutes used: Cuffe, Sozi, Lowe, Martinez.
Referee: P Taberner (Wigan).