Knights fall to Toulouse in season opener: Saturday 3rd April - Betfred Championship
York City Knights (6) 6-21 (8) Toulouse Olympique
The Knights fell to a 21-6 defeat at the hands of Toulouse Olympique in our first match of the Betfred Championship season at the LNER Community Stadium.
A hardly fought opening ten minutes saw the visitors lose former Knight Junior Vaivai and winger Latrell Schaumkel, both to head knocks – which neither returned from. It was down the edge that the injured pair would defend that the Knights opened the scoring, with returning winger Ben Jones-Bishop turning defence into attack.
Working the ball from right to left, Toulouse manufactured an overlap but the Jamaica international intercepted Mark Kheirallah’s looping pass and raced 90m to score on his 250th career appearance. Fellow winger Kieran Dixon converted to give the Knights a 6-0 lead after thirteen minutes.
The Knights almost doubled their lead moments later after Brendan O’Hagan’s excellent 40/20 kick. After working the ball left, Dixon did well to cut inside Ilias Bergal to fashion an opening but, with the try line looming, was penalised for a double movement.
Minutes later, Toulouse scored their first points. A big pass left from Joseph Paulo saw Kheirallah in possession and shrug off Tyme Dow-Nikau. He was able to pass left to Dominique Peyroux – lining up at this stage on the wing – who had plenty of work to do in grounding the ball in the corner under pressure from Danny Kirmond. He did, however, score the four pointer. Anthony Marion’s conversion attempt hit the post and bounced wide.
Shortly afterwards, the Frenchmen were level. After Adam Cuthbertson was penalised for a high tackle under the sticks – such was the tight, hard fought game – Toulouse elected to go for the two and Marion duly obliged, making the score 6-6 just after the half hour mark.
It was a penalty awarded just as the hooter sounded which would enable the visitors to go in at the break with a two point lead. Ryan Atkins was penalised for a high shot with Toulouse threatening and, from in front of the sticks, Marion put his team into the lead for the first time.
Toulouse extended their lead eight minutes into the second half when Mitch Garbutt forced his way over, despite attention from Knights defenders. Marion added the goal and another penalty before Joe Bretherton popped up on the left wing to extend the visitors’ lead after a bold last tackle play from Johnathan Ford and excellent tip on from Peyroux. The conversion attempt was unsuccessful but Toulouse led 6-18.
Despite the team’s best efforts in attack, the Knights couldn’t get over the line again and it was a late penalty from Marion, followed by a drop goal from Lloyd White, which finalised the scoring with Toulouse the 6-21 victors.
York: Matty Marsh, Ben Jones-Bishop, Tyme Dow-Nikau, Ryan Atkins, Kieran Dixon, Riley Dean, Brendan O’Hagan, Jordan Baldwinson, Will Jubb, Jack Teanby, Liam Salter, Danny Kirmond, Tim Spears.
Subs (all used): James Green, Joe Porter, Danny Washbrook, Adam Cuthbertson.
Tries: Ben Jones-Bishop (13’)
Goals: Kieran Dixon (1/1)
Toulouse: Mark Kheirallah, Ilias Bergal, Mathieu Jussaume, Junior Vaivai, Latrell Schaumkel, Johnathan Ford, Anthony Marion, Joe Bretherton, Lloyd White, Harrison Hansen, Andrew Dixon, Dominique Peyroux, Joseph Paulo.
Subs (all used): Eloi Pelissier, Maxime Puech, Remi Casty, Mitch Garbutt.
Tries: Dominique Peyroux (19), Mitch Garbutt (49), Joe Bretherton (60)
Goals: Anthony Marion (4/6)
Field Goals: Lloyd White (80)