Broncos hang on in Bootham Crescent Thriller: Sunday 8th March - Betfred Championship

Published: 8 March, 2020 - 6:30 pm

A three try salvo in the opening quarter earned London Broncos a thrilling victory over York City Knights in a high quality Betfred Championship encounter at Bootham Crescent in the early Spring sunshine and showers today.

These two teams were already familiar with each other having already faced off in the Challenge Cup just two weeks ago, the Knights winning in the last minute in the capital, but a brace from Rhys Curran and an opportunistic try from impressive centre Guy Armitage saw the Broncos get their revenge in the league.

It was a marked improvement in performance compared to last week and while the Knights – last seasons surprise package when finishing third in the Championship – remain winless after four games, their important first victory will surely not be far away with performances of this standard.

Knights Head Coach James Ford was able to bring some experience back onto his wings with the welcome return of Jason Bass and former London Broncos man Will Sharp, and Danny Washbrook replaced Ben Johnston in the halves. On-loan Huddersfield Giants hooker Reiss Butterworth came in for Kriss Brining, and had a positive impact off the bench.

The Broncos got off to a good start in the 8th minute when Curran crashed over from a well timed pass from Cory Aston, and Dixon was faultless with the boot all game, converting all three Broncos tries.

London doubled their lead five minutes later when Tuoyo Egodo out-jumped Jimmy Keinhorst to an attacking kick, but when it looked like he was going to be held up by the Knights defence, quick thinking Armitage took the ball off Egodo in the ruck and placed it down for a simple try and a 0-12 lead.

The Knights slow start was compounded even further when Curran scored his second try off the back of the platform laid by Eddie Battye on the previous tackle, and the Broncos took an ultimately unassailable 0-18 lead after just 22 minutes, although this would be the last time London would trouble the scoreboard operator.

Just like in the Cup contest two weeks previously, the Knights sprung into action ten minutes before half time to give themselves a chance in this game. 2019 Player of the Year Matty Marsh celebrated his 100th career appearance by scoring two well taken tries off the back of probing kicks, the first being his own in the 32nd minute, and again off Connor Robinson on the stroke of half time. Robinson successfully converted both tries and despite being 12-18 down, the Knights headed into the sheds at the break with their tails up and the supporters in fine voice.

Although there were to be no further tries in the second half, it was 40 minutes of high quality Championship rugby. The Knights earned the lions share of territory and possession and produced a number of chances which on another day might have produced tries. It was a testament to the impeccable defence from their full time opponents and never say die attitude – right up to the death when holding Jason Bass up over the line as the full time hooter sounded – that earned them a perhaps crucial victory in the play-off race even this early in the season.

The Knights’ attention now turns to the visit of a resurgent Rochdale Hornets at Bootham Crescent next Sunday, with a place amongst Super League’s elite in the bag for Round 6.

YORK: Marsh, Sharp, Keinhorst, Salter, Bass, Washbrook, Robinson, Teanby, Jubb, Clarkson, Porter, Scott, Spears. Subs: Butterworth, Green, Baldwinson, Stock.

Tries: Marsh (32, 39)

Goals: Robinson 2/2

LONDON: Dixon, Chamberlain, Lovell, Armitage, Egodo, Aston, Smith, Allgood, Fozzard, Butler, Walters, Curran, Battye. Subs: Krasniqi, Davis, Norman, Williams.

Tries: Curran (8, 22), Armitage (13).

Goals: Dixon 3/3

Isaac Poad Man of the Match: Will Sharp

Att: 1,364