Knights dispatch Stags as title race goes down to the wire: Sunday 16th September - League 1
York City Knights recorded an incredible fourteenth consecutive Betfred League 1 victory at Hemel Stags on Sunday, leaving them tantalisingly close to being crowned Champions.
Head Coach James Ford made six changes to the 17 that earned tough victories at Workington and at home to Oldham, with Andy Ellis, Joe Batchelor, Joel Edwards, Sam Scott, Will Oakes and Adam Robinson all making way for fresh legs in Will Jubb, Perry Whiteley, Jack Ormondroyd, Mike Kelly, Matt Chilton, and prop Dan Hawksworth respectively. Former Knights Austin Bell, Paul Stamp and Mark Barlow all featured for the Stags.
York got off to a blistering start, scoring five tries in the opening quarter and from then on the result was never in doubt. A first half hat trick from Ben Cockayne capped a great week for the soon father to be, who has also extended his stay at the Knights for 2019.
Connor Robinson also scored a first half try as well as kicking 8 out of 10 possible conversions for a personal 20 point haul on the day, edging him ever closer to York RL’s all-time points scored in a season record. He now needs just 9 points against Whitehaven to surpass Danny Brough’s record of 412, set back in 2004 (36 games). Robinson also equalled Brough’s goals in a season record of 178 and will hopefully surpass this against Whitehaven on Sunday.
Captain Tim Spears capped yet another fine performance with a first half try, as did Mike Kelly.
The second half started just as brightly as Harry Carter scooted from dummy half 40 meters out and raced all the way home. To their credit, Hemel Stags continued to work hard to stifle the Knights as much as possible, and only two late tries from Matty Marsh and one from Isaac Poad Man of the Match Brad Hey were added.
Hemel had the last word via a deserved try for player-coach Jack Howieson in the 73rd minute.
York City Knights now need to win just one more game to be crowned Betfred League 1 Champions – against Whitehaven in the last round of the season at Bootham Crescent this Sunday, at 3pm…
Hemel: Welham, Forde, K Williams, A Williams, Fitzpatrick-Parry, Stamp, Smith, Taylor, Sheriff, Bell, Stock, Esslemont, Jowett. Subs (all used): Mitchell, Barlow, Decaro, Howieson.
Try: Howieson (73).
Conversion: Smith (1/1).
Knights: Marsh, Chilton, Whiteley, Hey, Robson, Cockayne, C Robinson, Ronan Dixon, Jubb, Horne, Jordan-Roberts, Kelly, Spears. Subs (all used): Carter, Ormondroyd, Porter, Hawksworth.
Tries: Cockayne (6, 13, 35), Spears (10), C Robinson (19), Kelly (21), Carter (42), Marsh (58, 67), Hey (65).
Conversions: C Robinson (8/10).
Isaac Poad Man of the Match: Brad Hey
Referee: Andy Sweet
Attendance: 400 (est)