Gallant Knights defeated by Featherstone: Saturday 14th August - Betfred Championship
Featherstone Rovers 44 (18) – (14) 14 York City Knights
A Ben Jones-Bishop brace and a strong first half wasn’t enough to see the Knights build on back-to-back victories in the Betfred Championship as hosts Featherstone Rovers scored twenty-six unanswered second half points to defeat James Ford’s men.
The Knights were the fastest out of the blocks with Ben Jones-Bishop, switching flanks from last weekend’s victory over Swinton, scoring an early brace. The first, after the Knights were gifted field position by the hosts, came after an excellent lofted pass from Brendan O’Hagan in the second minute after the Rovers defence presented a gap for the winger.
Five minutes later, O’Hagan and Jones-Bishop again linked up with a try arguably better than the opener. Running the ball on the last, Sam Scott went close before getting a great offload away to our Australian half-back as he went to ground. O’Hagan, in turn, threw another wide pass to Jones-Bishop to score his second. Matty Marsh, impressive with the boot last weekend against Widnes, was unable to convert either.
Despite the Knights’ strong start, Featherstone hit back and got themselves back into the game. Aided by a six-again call from the referee, the hosts marched upfield and, on the last, the ball was worked right to Kris Welham who drew in the Knights’ left edge before getting the ball to Ben Blackmore, the winger scoring in the corner. His fellow winger, Craig Hall, added the two to narrow the deficit.
Featherstone hit the front for the first time shortly after with Warrington-bound James Harrison going over from close range, James Lockwood’s short pass from close range getting him through a gap.
Minutes after that try, the Knights would be given a man advantage when Dane Chisholm was sent to the sin-bin after a high tackle on O’Hagan as the Knights looked to work away from their line after Hall’s pat back went loose.
During that time, the Knights hit the front once more, full-back Marsh dummying over to round under the sticks to give Corey Johnson – taking up the kicking mantle – the easiest conversion he could ask for.
Featherstone’s kick-offs continued to cause the Knights problems, though, and a drop-out was forced when James McDonnell couldn’t gather Hall’s kick. Blackmore, though, coughed up at the back end of the resulting set with the try line in site.
The hosts, however, would go in at the break ahead after a try in the dying seconds of the first half. Chisholm’s chip in centre-field saw Marsh and opposite number Alex Walker compete in the air and, despite looking as though Marsh caught the ball on the full in the in-goal, the Featherstone man came up with the ball to score. Hall converted and the hosts led 18-14 at the break.
The second half would prove to be all Featherstone’s as the Knights, already with Kriss Brining having left the field injured while O’Hagan, Marsh and McDonnell continued to carry knocks, felt the force of the team who currently sit second in the Betfred Championship table.
Tim Spears added to that list with suspected cracked ribs in the early throes of the second period. Quickfire tries for the hosts would follow with Walker adding to his first half effort before Hall went over for the first of what would be four tries for him in the second forty.
Adam Cuthbertson then left the field injured while Johnson, again impressive in the halves, went down with a suspected ankle injury after coming up with the ball from an interception close to our line.
When Hall found his way over for his second, he left O’Hagan in his wake and the half-back – who has had shocking luck with injuries all season – required treatment after his attempt to stop the Featherstone winger.
Hall made it three for the afternoon after taking a loose ball from thirty metres out to get to the line.
The commitment of the Knights team throughout the evening couldn’t be questioned and, despite having a clutch of injured players soldiering on, the players on the pitch continued to give their all.
Hall, though, would have the last word, adding his and the match’s final try with nine minutes remaining, getting to Brett Ferres’ chipped kick before anyone else.
The Knights, having gone into this game with back-to-back wins under their belt, will take something from the endeavour and togetherness shown throughout an evening of adversity and will be keen to hit that winning trail once again next Sunday against Whitehaven at the LNER Community Stadium.
Featherstone: Alex Walker, Ben Blackmore, Kris Welham, Josh Hardcastle, Craig Hall, Dane Chisholm, Nu Brown, James Harrison, Connor Jones, James Lockwood, Frankie Halton, Brett Ferres, Callum Field.
Interchanges: Dean Parata, Luke Cooper, John Davies, Gadwin Springer
Tries: Ben Blackmore (12’), James Harrison (20’), Alex Walker (39’, 45’), Craig Hall (48’, 56’, 63’, 71’)
Conversions: Craig Hall (6)
Sin-bin: Dane Chisholm (24’)
York: Matty Marsh, Ben Jones-Bishop, Tyme Dow-Nikau, Ryan Atkins, Corey Hall, Brendan O’Hagan, Corey Johnson, Jack Teanby, Will Jubb, Ronan Dixon, Sam Scott, James McDonnell, Chris Clarkson.
Interchanges: Adam Cuthbertson, Kriss Brining, Jordan Baldwinson, Tim Spears
Tries: Ben Jones-Bishop (3’, 7’), Matty Marsh (32’)
Goals: Corey Johnson (1)
Man of the Match, in partnership with Burflex Scaffolding: Matty Marsh – Sancus Utilities