Knights fans crown Team of the Decade!
The York City Knights ‘Team of the Decade’ has been decided after a recent Twitter poll saw over two thousand votes cast in just 24 hours.
There were a number of admirable candidates to make the shortlist from an eventful ten years of action full of lows and highs, and after an exciting day of polling on Twitter, the final line up has been confirmed.
MATTY MARSH – With 56.4% of the vote, 2019 Player of the Year beat James Haynes, Ben Reynolds and Ash Robson to the number 1 shirt. A classy full back with an eye for the try line, Marsh could go on to become a legendary player for the Knights.
TOM LINEHAM is our first confirmed winger with 52.4% of the vote. The local lad burst onto the scene in 2010 with a number of eye catching games as York raced to play-off glory. Lineham went on to sign for Hull FC and returned on dual registration, before establishing himself as a first choice Super League player and going on to represent England Knights.
TOM SAXTON claimed the second spot with 19.3% of the vote, just edging out Judah Mazive and George Elliott. The veteran winger produced a series of strong performances in 2017 and 18 as the Knights continued their rise in the Flatman era.
GREG MINIKIN is our first centre on the team sheet with 59.4% of the vote. The Knaresborough-born player came through the ranks at York and made his debut at Catalan Dragons in the Challenge Cup in 2013. James Ford’s ‘protege’ went on to score 20 tries in 39 games for York which earned him a shot at Super League with Castleford in 2016. Now at Hull KR, Minikin has also represented England Knights.
JAMES FORD earned 23.2% of the vote, beating Lee Waterman and Brad Hey to the second centre spot. A classy centre in his playing days, Ford joined from Widnes Vikings in 2011 and scored 23 tries in 57 games before hanging up his boots at the end of a successful 2014 season to take up the coaching reins.
Current star CONNOR ROBINSON is first on the sheet with 48.7% of the vote. Signing midway through 2017, Robinson scored points in every one of his first 50 appearances for the Knights, and broke Danny Brough’s point scoring records in 2018 after amassing an incredible 186 goals and 420 points in a season – which he set in just 28 appearances compared to Brough’s 36 outings in 2004. He averaged a remarkable 6.64 goals and 15 points per game, and was influential in the Knights rise to third in the Championship in 2019.
CHRIS THORMAN forms a formidable partnership in the halves after receiving 25.8% of the vote, beating Ben Cockayne and Jonny Presley to the shirt. ‘Spuggy’ joined the Knights in 2010 and played 60 games in three seasons, scoring 14 tries and 97 goals in an influential player-coach role.
GRAEME HORNE is our first pack man on the team sheet with 51% of the vote. After first appearing on loan from Hull KR in 2017, the vastly experienced ball playing forward produced a number of match winning performances throughout 2018 and 19 as the Knights rose through the ranks.
JACK ALDOUS is the second prop to pack down in our team of the decade with 19.6% of the vote, muscling out Mark Applegarth and Adam Robinson. Aldous, nicknamed ‘Mr Duracell’ for his ability to play long stints in the engine room, won two Player of the Year awards in his five seasons with York, in 2012 and 2014, and was also voted Players’ Player and was named in a League One Team of the Year in 2014, when the Knights topped the division. The former captain also won seven Press Player of the Month awards.
KRISS BRINING completes our front row with 56.2% of the vote, comfortably beating Jack Lee, Harry Carter & Will Jubb to the shirt. The Scarborough born player graduated from the old Knights academy and was the youngest ever player to make a first team appearance on his debut against Widnes in 2011. Brining went on to score 53 tries in 83 games across five seasons in his first stint at York, before returning to the club in 2019 after a two year spell in Super League with Salford.
JOE BATCHELOR takes our first back row spot with a whopping 71.3% of the vote. Signing in 2017 as a relative unknown from Coventry Bears, Batchelor made 48 appearances in two seasons, earning a number of personal awards and a three year contract with Super League Champions St Helens. He returned on loan in 2019 and made a further 6 appearances.
SAM SCOTT completes the back row with 15.8% of the vote. The no-nonsense forward just edged out Josh Tonks and Matt Garside to make the team, after first signing for the club in 2013. Scott returned to York for a second spell ahead of the 2018 season, and has made 61 appearances in total, scoring 16 tries.
‘Captain Fantastic’ TIM SPEARS completes to team with 100% of the vote, as he was the only nominee! The experienced campaigner was one of Jon Flatman’s first ever signings ahead of 2017, and he has led from the front throughout the Knights resurgence. Spears also made the Betfred Championship Team of the Decade – a fair reflection on an incredible career.
It’s a second appearance for JAMES FORD in the line up – the highly rated Head Coach picked up 86.3% of the vote, beating Dave Woods, Chris Thorman and Gary Thornton. Since taking the reins ahead of the 2015 season, Ford showed immense loyalty through some testing times throughout 2015 and 16 and still managed to make the play-offs.
Ford was crowned Betfred League 1 Coach of the Year in 2018 and Betfred Championship Coach of the Year in 2019, as his own personal meteoric rise was reflected in the Knights performances.
After becoming the Knights first ever full time Head Coach on a three year deal in 2018, York will hope his leadership will continue to progress the club for many years to come.
With the brand new LNER Community Stadium set to open in just a few weeks time and the Knights continuing to grow and develop off the field, hopefully the next decade may prove to be best yet…
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