Knights attack finally clicks to rout Rochdale: Sunday 15th March - Coral Challenge Cup
By Joe Smith
Fresh from what James Ford suggested was possibly York’s best showing of the 2020 season last weekend albeit in defeat against London Broncos, the Knights recorded a comprehensive victory against Betfred League One side Rochdale, running in thirteen tries against the Hornets.
In what was the Knights’ captain Tim Spears’ 400th career appearance, York started strong with the scoring starting early. When the ball was worked well through the hands of Robinson and Scott, Jason Bass crossed for his first of three tries, the winger doing well to stay in the field of play to ground in the corner. It wasn’t long before the second try for Ford’s men arrived and it came in the form of a rampaging Chris Clarkson who was the beneficiary of some excellent work from Jack Teanby whose offload gave the former Castleford man his first Knights try. Before long, Robinson had crossed and, shortly after, Matty Marsh scored his first of four tries following some superb work from Marcus Stock. Huddersfield loanee Reiss Butterworth was the next over and Will Sharp’s score, coupled with Robinson’s fifth conversion from six attempts, gave the Knights a 34-0 lead at half-time, a lead they were never likely to squander.
Late in the first half, Liam Whalley was sent to the sin-bin for a high tackle but, despite having a man disadvantage, the Hornets were the first to cross in the second stanza when the Sheridan brothers combined, Declan kicking in behind the Knights defence from close range and Lewis beating Knights defenders to ground the ball. The Knights hit back swiftly when Marsh crossed for his second, Rochdale failing to wrap up Danny Washbrook, the veteran forward able to get an offload away to York’s excellent full-back. Rochdale, though, struck next with Lewis Sheridan taking advantage of good field position to score to the right of the sticks but those two tries – both converted by full-back Sam Freeman – were the end of Rochdale’s scoring.
An excellent delayed pass from Ben Johnston, the former Halifax man producing his best performance thus far in a Knights shirt, exposed an advancing Rochdale defender and his pass gave Marsh a stroll to the line for his third of the match and the full-back was involved for Bass’ second score. The ball was worked from centrefield to York’s left edge through Washbrook, Robinson and Marsh, the full back’s pass an excellent one for the former Coventry man to cross in the corner. Johnston went over shortly after, ghosting through a hole in the Hornets’ defensive line and three tries in the last ten minutes through Bass’ third, Robinson’s second and Marsh’s fourth capped off an excellent team performance for the Knights.
Perhaps the only disappointment for the Knights was captain Spears’ failed conversion attempt in the last minute but, after falling to four consecutive Betfred Championship defeats at the start of their season, this was the performance head coach Ford believed his team had been threatening to produce. Rochdale, however, were simply unable to keep up with a red-hot Knights team, especially towards the end of proceedings.
KNIGHTS: Marsh, Sharp, Keinhorst, Salter, Bass, Johnston, Robinson, Baldwinson, Jubb, Teanby, Clarkson, Scott, Spears Subs: Butterworth, Green, Stock, Washbrook.
Tries: Bass (7, 66, 70), Clarkson (13), Robinson (24, 76), Marsh (32, 48, 57, 79), Butterworth (34), Sharp (39), Johnston (68).
Goals: Robinson 9/12, Spears 0/1.
HORNETS: Freeman, Holroyd, Calland, Whitehead, Broomfield, Sheridan, Syme, Sam Hopkins, Penkywicz, Hesketh, Whalley, Tracey, Lea. Subs: Sheridan, Fowden, Marriott, Ngawati.
Tries: L. Sheridan (43, 54.)
Goals: Freeman 2/2.
Isaac Poad Man of the Match: Matty Marsh
Att: 500 est