Knights wish departing players well

Published: 12 October, 2017 - 12:17 pm
York City Knights can today announce which members of James Ford’s squad will leave the club this winter. 
 
The Knights would like to place on record our thanks and best wishes to the departing players – all of whom contributed to a memorable season at Bootham Crescent.
 
Club legends Jonny Presley, James Haynes and York born former club captain Pat Smith have all officially confirmed their retirement.
 
33 year old nippy playmaker Presley – who evolved his game from being a noted running threat to a composed organiser – has played for Featherstone, Keighley and Australian side Fremantle, and made 125 appearances for York, scoring 49 tries across two spells.
 
Presley also holds the Knights record of six tries in a game, set in the record 132-0 Challenge Cup win over Northumbria University in 2011.
 
Head Coach James Ford said: “What can you say about Jonny that hasn’t already been said? He has been a really good, consistent performer for us for years. His calming influence and his experience was really important – especially this year, where he played some of his finest rugby ever.”
 
After recently getting married, James Haynes is stepping down from the pro ranks to concentrate on work and family commitments.
 
Ford said: “I’m proud to have coached James and we’re losing a top man, I genuinely hope everything works out for the best.”
 
Haynes ends his association with the club, having fought off serious injury throughout two spells and still enjoyed lots of memorable moments in a Knights shirt over the years.
 
Hometown hooker Pat Smith enjoyed four seasons at the Knights after signing from Sheffield. Consistenly in the running for player of the year honours, the club will miss his drive and commitment.
 
“I both played alongside and coached Pat” Ford said: “And I think we all know which is easier!
 
“We’ll all miss him and we wish him well in his retirement.”
 
Prop Ryan Mallinder, who first joined the Knights from the amateur game and returned midway through the 2017 campaign after recovering from a career threatening broken leg, will be moving on:
 
“Ryan has signed for another club. We are pleased to have played a part in his recovery and we all want him to go from strength to strength at his new home. We wish him well.”
 
Head Coach James Ford was quick to thank them for their efforts in the Knights shirt:
 
“Jonny, James and Pat have been great servants to the club. All three came back and really helped us this year. They are great professionals who will benefit a club wherever they go.”
 
Forward Liam Thompson and backs Ben Dent, Harry Tyson-Wilson and Dee Foggin-Johnston will also leave the club with our best wishes for the future.
 
Ford said: “We would have loved to have kept all these lads on but I have a sensible budget to work with and the squad can only be so big, such is the nature of competitive sport.
 
“All the lads took moving on with real class, and we would like to wish them all the very best in their future endeavours.”
 
Other players from the Knights 2017 squad are considering contract offers, and announcements will be made in due course.
 
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