Kirmond scores his hundredth but Knights defeated: Sunday 29th August - Betfred Championship
York City Knights 18 (6)-(20) 36 Bradford Bulls
The Knights fell to defeat at the hands of Bradford Bulls this afternoon at the LNER Community Stadium with the visitors recording a 36-18 victory.
James Ford welcomed Aidan McGowan into the fold for his Knights debut after being unavailable previously due to Covid-19, while Jason Bass and Kieran Dixon returning. The latter replaced Liam Salter on the left flank, while Bass starred as interchange hooker after Will Jubb left play with a concussion.
There was a late change to the named Knights line-up with Jack Teanby dropping out just ahead of kick-off. Salter, last weekend a winger, came into the seventeen in the back-row with Danny Kirmond moving into the middle.
Danny Brough returned to Bradford and was key in their success. His towering kicks proved challenging for the Knights, with Kieran Dixon and Aidan McGowan knocking on deep in our territory. Early in the set, and five minutes in, Dixon was able to intercept a wide pass to relieve the pressure but it wouldn’t be long until Bradford opened the scoring.
Just after ten minutes in, McGowan’s knock on gave the Bulls position to score and Jordan Lilley was found. The half-back’s arcing run saw the former Leeds man through a gap to open the scoring. Brough converted to put John Kear’s Bulls six ahead.
In the eighteenth minute, Lilley was then stopped just short. On the next play, though, Ben Evans ran a great line to crash over from close range. Brough added the two.
The Knights, though, hit back after a handling error from the visitors gave us great position. Jordan Baldwinson was stopped just short – and picked up an injury which ruled him out of the rest of the game – but Matty Marsh and Corey Johnson worked the ball left to Ryan Atkins who powered through Bradford’s defence to score in the left channel.
The returning Dixon kicked the first of his three conversions to narrow the gap.
Both teams then went set for set with the Knights probably looking the most likely to score next but, on the half hour mark, Brough orchestrated another try for Bradford.
A wide kick from left to right was flat and caught by Rhys Evans. The centre then found a gap in the Knights defence to score his first try of what would go on to be a hat-trick.
Brough again added the two.
Minutes later, he kicked a penalty goal for the visitors after he was hit late by the Knights defence, giving the Bulls a 6-20 lead, a score which would remain the same until half-time.
With a big second half needed, the last thing Knights fans would have wanted to see was Bradford scoring first – but that’s exactly what happened.
Working the ball right, a delayed pass from Pickersgill got centre Evans in space and, despite Atkins’ best efforts, he grounded for his second. Brough’s conversion attempt was unsuccessful but the Bulls led by eighteen.
Two Knights tries in five minutes, though, narrowed the deficit with the Knights’ crowd finding their voice.
First, James Green was the recipient of great work from Johnson, the half-back stepping inside would-be tacklers to give the prop a run to the line for his first Betfred Championship try of the season.
Danny Kirmond then rolled back the years, taking Marcus Stock’s pass before rounding Pickersgill and outpacing the retreating Bradford defence to score his hundredth career try.
Dixon converted both and the Knights now trailed by just six.
Prior to the latter, James McDonnell was sent to the sin-bin for delaying a twenty-metre restart for the visitors. The Knights, though, outscored the opponents in that ten-minute period with only a Brough penalty being conceded. When McDonnell returned, the score stood at 18-26 and, with just under twenty minutes remaining, the game was in the balance and could have gone either way.
With eight minutes remaining, though, it was Bradford who would score a killer try – and one which didn’t go down well with the Knights’ players, fans or staff.
A looping pass from Brough on the left looked to have gone a long way forward. Referee Jack Smith allowed play to continue, however, and former Knights Dee Foggin-Johnston was able to get to the try line. The conversion attempt was unsuccessful but, minutes later, it was game over with another Bradford score.
Rhys Evans completed his hat-trick from Lilley’s pass to seal the win, with Lilley converting as Brough was replaced.
The Knights, despite a performance full of grit and determination, fell to defeat and, with it, all but extinguished hopes of reaching the end of season play-offs.
York City Knights – Aidan McGowan, Ben Jones-Bishop, Tyme Dow-Nikau, Ryan Atkins, Kieran Dixon, Matty Marsh, Corey Johnson, Danny Kirmond, Will Jubb, Jordan Baldwinson, Liam Salter, James McDonnell, Chris Clarkson.
Interchanges – Jason Bass, Marcus Stock, Jacob Gannon, James Green
Tries – Ryan Atkins (21), James Green (48), Danny Kirmond (53)
Goals – Kieran Dixon (3)
Sin-bin – James McDonnell (52)
Bradford Bulls – Brandon Pickersgill, Matty Dawson-Jones, Rhys Evans, Ross Oakes, Dee Foggin-Johnston, Danny Brough, Jordan Lilley, Ben Evans, Thomas Doyle, Steve Crossley, Brad England, Aaron Murphy, Sam Hallas.
Interchanges – George Flanagan, Dan Fleming, Anthony Walker, Masi Matongo
Tries – Jordan Lilley (12), Ben Evans (17), Rhys Evans (29, 43, 74), Dee Foggin-Johnston (71)
Goals – Danny Brough (5), Jordan Lilley