Gav Wilson’s All-Time Knights XIII
Last week saw long time Knights observers Andy Atkinson, Sharon Shortle and Peter Martini shared with us their all-time York City Knights team – no mean feat considering the number of high quality players who have represented the Minster City since the Knights were formed in 2003!
Today, our very own Gav Wilson has a go…
Much like Peter Martini last week I too have took the liberty of including an all important substitutes bench, mostly because I was struggling to leave so much quality out of my team! I must include a small caveat that between 2006 and 2010 I was living in Leeds, studying for my Sports Journalism degree and as such missed more York games than I would have liked during that time… My apologies!
Full Back: It really was on the toss of a coin between Matt Blaymire and Matty Marsh for me – two classy operators who established themselves early on in their respective careers at the Knights. Blaymire went on to Super League and would surely have shone had he not been desperately unlucky with injury, and Marsh – who swept up the individual awards in 2019 – will no doubt make it back to Super League at some point in his promising career. Honourable mentions to Ben Reynolds, Tom Carr and James Haynes too.
Pick: Matty Marsh.
Wingers: Despite the Knights incredible revival since 2017 in the Flatman era, we haven’t really had any genuine speedsters at the club for quite some time (although Kieren Moss was no slouch!) so I’ve gone further back for my wing selections. I’ve gone for two York born players who were electric in their relatively brief stints at the Knights, and both went on to enjoy distinguished careers in the Super League. Another local lad and scorer of the Knights first ever try – Alex Godfrey – was so close to making the cut, and an honourable mention for Austin Buchanan too.
Picks: Peter Fox and Tom Lineham.
Centres: The Knights have been blessed with some real class in the three-quarters over the years. York lad Dan Potter just misses out for me over his 2004 predecessor Chris Langley, who scored 21 tries in Richard Agar’s formidable team. He is partnered by a Knights academy graduate in Greg Minikin, who’s numerous impressive performances for the Knights soon earned him a move to Super League. There were strong claims from Minikin’s mentor James Ford and last year’s ‘Mr Dependable’ Liam Salter too.
Picks: Chris Langley and Greg Minikin.
Half Backs: There was some consideration for early Knights pioneers and local lads Scott Rhodes and Mark Cain (who knows how many games and tries his awful injuries cost him), as well as Chris Thorman and Jonny Presley, but in the end the choice was relatively straightforward. Two phenomenal left footed point scoring machines had to get the nod, record maker Danny Brough, and record breaker Connor Robinson – a combined 900 points between them in one respective season!
Picks: Danny Brough & Connor Robinson.
Props: There were three props from the very first Knights squad in 2003 who could have reasonably made this team in the form of Paul Broadbent, Rich Hayes and Craig Forsyth, but Adam Sullivan takes the first shirt for me. 171 games from 2004-9 and 2012-13, Sullivan has played more games for the Knights than almost anyone else, and produced possibly the best performance ever seen during that unforgettable comeback at Keighley in 2005. So influential throughout 2018 and 2019, classy ball playing forward Graeme Horne takes the second shirt. Other worthy claims came from Yusuf Sozi, Colton Roche and Jack Aldous. Ask me again in a few years and Marcus Stock may well make this team…
Picks: Adam Sullivan and Graeme Horne.
Hooker: The Knights have enjoyed the talents of some fantastic number 9s over the years – Jimmy Elston, Jamaine Wray, Jack Lee, Harry Carter and Andy Ellis, but for me the original general Lee Jackson takes the shirt. The former GB Lion was so influential during his three years at the club, culminating in promotion at the end of 2005. His signing as York RL was reborn showed the world that the Knights meant business.
Pick: Lee Jackson.
Back Row: My first pick was pretty straightforward and goes to none other than Mick Ramsden (pictured). The Hall of Famer led by example for his hometown club with dozens of strong performances from the first season until hanging up his boots after the 2005 promotion season. The second shirt goes to Sam Scott, an absolute workhorse who has contributed so much to the Knights cause, especially during his second spell from 2018 to date. It was tough to leave out Simon Friend, Ian Kirke, Ryan Esders and Joe Batchelor!
Picks: Mick Ramsden and Sam Scott.
Loose Forward: This was a tough decision, but one I’m happy with. Damian Ball was simply unplayable at times in Rich Agar’s free-scoring class of 2004, and was a real old fashioned ball playing lock – a lower league Paul Sculthorpe if you will! There were solid claims from Trevor Krause, Lee Patterson and of course Tim Spears, but Ball gets the nod for me.
Pick: Damian Ball.
Ben Cockayne – Originally signed as a winger in 2018 but found a new lease of life in the halves, Charlie can play anywhere in the back line – and play well.
Kriss Brining – Academy graduate hooker who’s try scoring feats earned a move to Super League. Still more to come in his second spell too.
Rich Hayes – A 400 game workhorse. A mountain of a man. I couldn’t leave this legendary York prop out.
Tim Spears – Captain fantastic who can play anywhere in the pack, also nearing 400 games and still going strong.
Head Coach: There was only one option really. He has the potential to unlock the makings of a good coach if he continues to show the right desire and attitude…
Pick: James Ford.
And that completes my all-time York City Knights squad. Who makes yours…?