Classy Knights down Lions in the snow: Sunday 18th March - Ladbrokes Challenge Cup
York City Knights defied league status for the second time in two seasons to knock Championship opposition out of the Ladbrokes Challenge Cup with an attritional 26-12 victory over Swinton Lions yesterday.
With the Bootham Crescent pitch waterlogged, the game was moved at late notice to Featherstone’s LD Nutrition stadium in order to avoid a fixture pile-up before the fifth round of the prestigious knock-out competition next month, as tough games against Keighley and at Doncaster and Newcastle await.
Head Coach was without loanee Colton Roche and rested Adam Robinson, with Dan Hawksworth and Rory Dixon coming in and contributing positively towards an immense effort from the Knights forward pack – especially as conditions under foot worsened in the second half, playing up the hill. Jake Normington came in to the centre and produced a number of huge tackles throughout the game. Ben Cockayne moved to half back and Judah Mazive took his place on the wing.
The Knights were on the board just five minutes into the game after a penalty gifted a set in the Lions half, and Mazive spectacularly crossed down the right edge, despite having no right to do so. Connor Robinson expertly goaled from the touchline for a 6-0 lead to settle any possible early nerves.
York then doubled their lead after ten minutes as Connor Robinson’s well placed kick towards the posts was fumbled by Gabe Fell and the anticipating Ben Cockayne was on hand to score.
The ‘home’ side from League 1 controlled the possession and territory throughout much of the first half, and their lead was extended further after 24 minutes – Chris Siddons with a well timed pass at the line allowed captain Tim Spears to crash over just to the right of the posts. Robinson goaled for an 18-0 lead.
Robinson added a penalty goal just two minutes later, meaning Swinton had to score at least four tries to have a chance of winning the game.
The Championship team eventually got on the scoreboard just after the half hour mark when after three repeat sets on the Knights line, centre George Tyson crossed despite the attentions of four York defenders. Chris Hankinson converted.
As the half time hooter sounded, Swinton were awarded a penalty under the posts, and Hankinson took a shot at goal to reduce the Knights lead to 20-8 as the teams headed inside for a well deserved cup of tea.
Swinton started the second half strongly and forced a number of repeat sets on the Knights line, but York held strong until the hour mark – Jack Hansen made a break in the quagmire midfield and Rhodri Lloyd was on hand to finish the move off down the right edge. The conversion was missed and the Knights crucially remained two scores in front.
As the clock ticked down Robinson added another penalty goal to edge York out to 22-12, and the game was finally put to bed in the 76th minute as Judah Mazive beat the Lions defence to a well placed Cockayne grubber for his second try of the afternoon. The conversion was missed but at 26-12, the damage was already done.
Tempers flared in the Lions ranks and Andy Bracek was sin-binned as the game reached the close, but it made little difference. The full time hooter went and the Knights were once again in the hat for the Ladbrokes Challenge Cup fifth round (Tuesday 20th March, 7pm on BBC Sport).
York now turn their attentions back to Betfred League 1 action to this Sunday, as they return to Bootham Crescent to face Keighley Cougars in a huge game. Tickets are available from our online partners Eventbrite HERE.
Knights: Moss, Robson, Normington, Hey, Mazive, Cockayne, C Robinson, Hawksworth, Ellis, Horne, Batchelor, Scott, Spears. Subs (all used): Jubb, Siddons, Rory Dixon, Porter.
Tries: Mazive (4, 76); Cockayne (10); Spears (24).
Goals: Robinson (5/6).
Swinton: Fell, Butt, Hankinson, Tyson, Webb, Fairclough, J Hansen, Bracek, H Hansen, Austin, Lloyd, Sarfield, Barlow. Subs (all used): Shelford, Taylor, Hall, Waterworth.
Tries: Tyson (36); Lloyd (62).
Goals: Hankinson (2/3).
Sin Bin: Bracek (78).
Isaac Poad Man of the Match: Tim Spears.
Photo credit: Craig Hawkhead