Knights Cup Heartbreak as Barrow finish strong: Sunday 23rd April - Ladbrokes Challenge Cup

Published: 2 May, 2017 - 4:12 pm

(Report courtesy of Peter Martini at

BARROW boss Paul Crarey had reckoned this Challenge Cup fifth round clash at Bootham Crescent would be his side’s toughest test yet of a hitherto 100 per cent start to the season, even if York City Knights were injury-hit.

He was proved right – with only the performance of hapless referee John McMullen seeing the Raiders prevail.

The Knights had beaten the odds to forge a 28-26 lead but then James Haynes had a wonderful hat-trick try bizarrely ruled out at a crucial stage of the game, and Barrow were immediately awarded two dubious tries at the other end as McMullen single-handedly turned the contest on its head.

As frustrations boiled over, Harry Tyson-Wilson was sin-binned for punching so York finished the game with 12 men, Barrow quickly being awarded another controversial try to secure victory before two more late scores rubbed salt into wounds, the final score a wholly unreflective 50-28.

The big Barrow following were delighted, the York fans apoplectic. A cracking encounter was ruined.

It also stretched the Raiders’ 10-year winning streak against York to 12 games – and gave enough evidence to suggest there may actually be a hoodoo.

How the penalty count ended 7-1 to the Raiders is anybody’s guess.

Knights boss James Ford – who had words with McMullen as he left the pitch yet still shook his hand – had made six changes to the side that battled to Good Friday victory over Doncaster, most of them forced, with Press man-of-the-match that day Ash Robson, skipper Ed Smith and Player of the Month prop Adam Robinson going into an increasingly busy treatment room.

On-loan Nick Rawsthorne, who scored the decisive try against the Dons, was made unavailable for the cup by parent club Hull, while veteran half-back Jonny Presley was also out.

In came Ben Dent at full-back, only to join the injury list in the second half, Nev Morrison at centre, Liam Harris at half-back, and props Kieran Moran and Bobby Tyson-Wilson, with Joe Porter starting – and impressing – in Smith’s second-row spot.

There was also a change at hooker, Pat Smith the unfortunate one to miss out after Harry Carter returned from injury.

Barrow as expected made only two changes to the personnel that easily saw off Newcastle last week, with Brad Marwood in for suspended half-back Jamie Dallimore and fit-again veteran Martin Aspinwall back in for the crocked Bradd Crellin.

Centre Declan Hulme put them ahead after just three minutes, just having the legs to see off the chasing Dee Foggin-Johnston after Jarrad Stack – benefiting from an unfortunate slip by Andy Ellis – made the initial break.

Big Joe Bullock, enjoying a rampaging start, was held up on the last as they looked to turn the screw – but instead York equalised with their first real attack.

They spread the ball left where Tyson-Wilson chipped perfectly for Dee Foggin-Johnston racing up the wing.

Barrow quickly retook the lead, great hands down the right by full-back Ryan Fieldhouse sending in winger Shane Toal.

Then brother Dan Toal, the second-rower, crossed in the next attack, hooker Nathan Mossop with the break, and the Knights were facing an uphill battle with 17 minutes gone.

It nearly got worse as Tommy Saxton couldn’t cope with a big Charnock bomb but York enjoyed some fortune as Fieldhouse’s long scoring pass to Luke Cresswell was forward.

They then hit back again after a first full set in the Barrow half.

Again Tyson-Wilson was the architect with a smart kick which bounced perfectly for Morrison, who fought over.

Barrow surged clear again, some great hands, and a little bit of luck, under another big kick sending in Cresswell – fortune this time going the Barrow winger’s way.

But again York dug in and struck back.

Harris, filling in at hooker, scooted through from dummy-half and, although he was halted without finding a scoring pass, Porter blasted over from the play-the-ball.

With Tyson-Wilson goaling all three home tries and Charnock adding only two conversions, there were suddenly only two points in it at 20-18.

Charnock tried to eke Barrow’s lead up on half-time but missed a penalty – only the second of an excellent cut-and-thrust first half.

And, instead, York took the lead a minute after the resumption, with another cracker.

Porter’s forceful run allowed Carter to make a wonderful scoot from dummy-half.

Quick hands on the last tackle from Saxton then saw Haynes dive over, squeezing in by the flag, Tyson-Wilson continuing his 100 per cent record from the touchline.

Barrow were flustered, mistake-ridden in these exchanges, and York stayed on top despite losing Dent to injury.

Indeed Haynes switched from centre to his old full-back spot and immediately came to the fore.

He so nearly got his second try after a flowing move to the right, being held up over the whitewash – but he did score two tackles later, this time forcing the ball down to the left of the sticks.

Tyson-Wilson’s flawless run with the boot ended, however, and he also sent a field kick out on the full.

This saw Barrow start a set on half-way and it ended with Cresswell diving in at the corner, Charnock’s goal cutting the deficit to 28-26.

That gap could have increased again after a great break from defence by Foggin-Johnston but, after he was tackled, referee McMullen allowed the Raiders to lay on – not for the first time – and deny a quick play-the-ball.

If that decision was bad, the next was awful.

Haynes dived in for his hat-trick try from a set move but McMullen incredibly ruled it out for obstruction. It was the same set move that York fans had seen for the past two years.

There was then obstruction at the other end as Barrow broke, but he allowed Dan Toal’s try to stand.

Immediately Cresswell got his hat-trick try – a forward pass somehow not spotted – and Barrow were in the clear.

The yellow card soon followed, as did Creswell’s fourth try from another forward pass, and Barrow were through.

York finally got their first penalty on 76 minutes but Barrow broke away, Mossop the finisher, and big Tom Walker got over on the hooter too.