Knights defeat Newcastle on a Magic Night for Harrison and Warren: Friday 3rd September - Betfred Championship
Newcastle Thunder 16 (10)-(24) 29 York City Knights
Open the top drawer and you will find this York City Knights performance in there.
As teenagers Myles Harrison and Toby Warren made their first Betfred Championship start and Knights debut respectively, James Ford’s team delivered a professional, committed performance to record a 16-29 victory over Newcastle Thunder on an evening which will live long in the memory.
James Ford made five changes to the team defeated last weekend by Bradford Bulls with Perry Whiteley, Tim Spears and Danny Washbrook all coming into the line-up, alongside Harrison and Warren. Ryan Atkins, Kieran Dixon, Jordan Baldwinson and Jason Bass all missed out with injuries picked up last weekend, while hooker Will Jubb’s concussion ruled him out.
The Knights started quickly and Harrison and Warren both settled quickly into the match. The full-back forced a drop-out with a sumptuous grubber and, a few minutes later, captain Chris Clarkson found his way to the line just to the right of the sticks. Harrison, taking goal-kicking duties over for the night, kicked the first of five to give him and the Knights a perfect start.
Ten minutes later, Harrison dished up what could quite possibly be the moment of the Knights season. Fielding a Josh Woods kick, he returned and then some, accelerating into contact and breaking a tackle. He then drew in his opposite number Callum Turner before passing right to Ben Jones-Bishop on halfway. The winger raced under the sticks and the provider added the two to give the Knights a 0-12 lead after fifteen minutes.
Newcastle, to this point, hadn’t really threatened but, just after the twenty minute mark, the hosts made us pay after the Knights coughed up possession deep in our territory. The ball was worked right and winger Alex Clegg, who scored twice in the reverse fixture earlier this season, grounded in the corner. Woods was unable to convert.
The Knights hit back minutes later and, just after coming on, Aidan McGowan really gave those in amber and black a firm grip on proceedings. His first touch of the ball came as he stepped off his left, raced through a gap before rounding Turner to score his first try for the Knights. Harrison again converted, and the same would happen again almost immediately.
Newcastle kicked off and, on the first tackle, the ball was worked right to Jones-Bishop. The winger made it over halfway before passing inside to Matty Marsh. Marsh, in turn, made good ground and brought the ball back towards the middle. With the defence closing on him, the half-back threw a pass over the top and, on the bounce, McGowan was there and scored his second try in as many minutes. Harrison, continuing a flawless start, added the two and the Knights led 4-24 before the half-hour mark.
Just before the hooter, Newcastle would narrow the gap and, after the hosts were given a penalty for a high shot, a floated pass from the centre to the left gave winger Jack Johnson a run to the corner. Woods kicked the touchline conversion and the teams headed back into the sheds for the break with the Knights leading 10-24.
The early stages of the second half saw several players stay down requiring treatment, including former-NRL player Matty Wright who couldn’t get the better of 17-year-old Warren on Newcastle’s right.
On the 48th minute, the hosts would narrow the gap further after a break in play. In the Knights’ thirty, the Newcastle halves brought the play from right to left and a brilliant wide pass to centre Kieran Gill saw the former Castleford man score the first points of the half. Woods converted and the Knights lead by eight.
A ten minute period where the teams went set-for-set with no errors saw the feeling grow that the next score would be huge – and it was. After a superb carry from the reborn-front-rower Danny Kirmond saw the Knights into Newcastle’s thirty, Turner was equal to Marsh’s last tackle kick to the corner but was unable to avoid being dragged into touch.
On the first tackle of the resulting set – which the Knights started on Thunder’s ten metre line – the ball was worked left. The impressive McGowan, in the halves this evening from the interchange bench, glided across the defensive line before finding winger Whiteley in space and he grounded despite the attention of a Newcastle defender. Harrison was unable to convert from the touchline, but the Knights still led by twelve just before the hour mark.
Try as they might, Newcastle were unable to break down a resolute Knights defence further, despite forcing goal-line drop-outs in the latter part of proceedings.
With seven minutes remaining, a shrewd play from Marsh saw the half-back kick a drop-goal to make it a thirteen-point margin and it was one that proved too much for Newcastle to come back from.
The hooter sounded seven minutes later and the Knights had secured a memorable victory for the travelling contingent, themselves and teenagers Harrison and Warren.
In what was billed as the #MagicNightOut, the Knights certainly kept their side of the bargain…
Newcastle Thunder: Callum Turner, Alex Clegg, Matty Wright, Kieran Gill, Jack Johnson, Joe Shorrocks, Josh Woods, Ted Chapelhow, Bob Beswick, Kyle Trout, Ukuma Taai, Connor Bailey, Evan Simons
Interchanges: Tom Spencer, Nathan Wilde, Liam McAvoy, Alex Donaghy
Tries: Alex Clegg (24′), Jack Johnson (40′), Kieran Gill (48′)
Goals: Josh Woods (2)
York City Knights: Myles Harrison, Ben Jones-Bishop, Tyme Dow-Nikau, Liam Salter, Perry Whiteley, Corey Johnson, Matty Marsh, James Green, Danny Washbrook, Danny Kirmond, James McDonnell, Toby Warren, Chris Clarkson.
Interchanges: Aidan McGowan, Marcus Stock, Jacob Gannon, Tim Spears
Tries: Chris Clarkson (4′), Ben Jones-Bishop (17′), Aidan McGowan (30′, 32′), Perry Whiteley (59′)
Goals: Myles Harrison (4)
Drop Goal: Matty Marsh (73′)
Man of the Match in partnership with Burflex Scaffolding: Myles Harrison – Burflex Scaffolding