Improved performance not quite enough vs Batley: Sunday 20th June - Betfred Championship
York City Knights 20 (0)-(10) 22 Batley Bulldogs
York City Knights fell to an agonising 22-20 defeat this afternoon at the LNER Community Stadium against Batley Bulldogs, despite arguably being the better team and dominating field position.
After a disappointing showing last weekend against Halifax Panthers, the Knights responded with a much-improved performance against Batley but ultimately it was the Bulldogs who took the two points back to West Yorkshire.
Despite a positive start from the Knights, where Matty Marsh thought he was through to the try line only to be pulled back for a forward pass from Ben Jones-Bishop after great work from debutant Jamie Ellis, it was Batley who struck first.
Ellis went for a kick into the visitors’ half but full-back Luke Hooley was able to catch the kick on contact and outstrip the chase to score under the sticks. The full-back converted his own try and, after developing further pressure, it was Batley who added a second.
Working the ball left from centrefield, the visitors manufactured an overlap with Jodie Broughton going over in the corner from Jack Logan’s pass. Hooley was unable to convert the effort.
The Knights would go onto have the best of the remaining first-half minutes without really making that count in good ball and it would be Batley who lead at the break.
A strong start to the second half, as has become something of a regular occurrence from the Knights this year, saw the team build pressure and three back-to-back tries threw the game on its head.
Forcing a repeat set, the ball was worked wide to the right and Matty Marsh’s excellent cut out pass found Ben Jones-Bishop, the winger going over in the corner. His fellow winger Kieran Dixon produced an excellent conversion before adding to the scoreboard further moments later.
Rolling upfield through the middle and with the Knights’ fans really getting going, Marsh’s excellent last tackle grubber had a favourable bounce for Dixon who gathered and forced his way to the try line. He would add a further two before adding his second try to make it three back to back tries for the men in white, amber and black.
Deep in Batley territory, the ball was thrown wide to the winger who, instead of electing to go for the line in the ever-decreasing passage down the touchline, cut inside multiple Bulldogs men to find his way to a second try of the afternoon. That effort extended the Knights’ lead to six before his excellent conversion added a further two to that.
On the next set the visitors would have, a big moment came. Ellis’ deep kick looked to set the Knights set off well, but when an offload and wide pass to Lucas Walshaw on Batley’s right saw the centre make good ground upfield, Johnny Campbell’s grubber to himself saw Jones-Bishop tackle him without the ball in an effort to stop the try.
He succeeded but only earned a yellow card for himself and a penalty for the Bulldogs. Early in the resulting set, the extra man told and Jodie Broughton forced his way over in the corner.
Hooley’s conversion attempt was this time successful and made it a two-point ball game.
Dixon added a further two to the Knights’ score with a penalty following a late hit on half-back Danny Washbrook with Jones-Bishop still off the pitch. The points were almost sealed when Marsh went close but a knock on coughed up possession and then, when Tom Gilmore went for the chip and chase, Batley had their moment.
Interchange Elliot Hall was first to it and, after he offloaded out of the tackle to Ben White, Dane Manning received the ball from the half-back and in turn offloaded out of the tackle to Walshaw who levelled the scores.
Hooley added the two to give Batley the lead with little over five minutes remaining.
Debutant Jake Sweeting forced a goal-line drop out with just over sixty seconds on the clock but, when Adam Cuthbertson went close, his offload was gathered by a Batley man and the visitors had clinched the win.
York City Knights: Matty Marsh, Ben Jones-Bishop, Ryan Atkins, Liam Salter, Kieran Dixon, Danny Washbrook, Jamie Ellis, Adam Cuthbertson, Jake Sweeting, Jack Teanby, Chris Clarkson, Sam Scott, Tim Spears.
Interchanges: Jason Bass, Jordan Baldwinson, Marcus Stock, Tyla Hepi.
Tries: Ben Jones-Bishop (52), Kieran Dixon (55, 59)
Goals: Kieran Dixon (4/4)
Sin Bin: Ben Jones-Bishop (62)
Batley Bulldogs: Luke Hooley, Johnny Campbell, Lucas Walshaw, Jack Logan, Jodie Broughton, Ben White, Tom Gilmore, Toby Everett, Ben Kaye, Jack Blagbrough, Dane Manning, Kieran Buchanan, Nyle Flynn.
Interchanges: Elliot Hall, Alistair Leak, Tom Lillycrop, Michael Ward.
Tries: Luke Hooley (18), Jodie Broughton (30, 63), Lucas Walshaw (75)
Goals: Luke Hooley (3/4)
Knights Man of the Match in partnership with Burflex Scaffolding: Kieran Dixon sponsored by Browns Plasterers
Image courtesy of Jordan Benjamin-Sutton