Knights grind out crucial win at Workington: Sunday 2nd September - League 1

Published: 3 September, 2018 - 1:31 pm

York City Knights took one huge step closer to the Betfred League 1 title after a phenomenal defensive performance secured a thrilling 14-18 victory in torrential rain at Workington, and the Knights first win in Cumbria since 2009.

James Ford made two changes from the team that convincingly beat Hunslet at Bootham Crescent two weeks ago, with prop Ronan Dixon and hooker Andy Ellis coming in for Jack Ormondroyd and Will Jubb respectively. The mid-season break for the squad ultimately paid dividends in this intensely physical encounter against the in-form Cumbrians, who won at Bradford last time out.

A series of mistakes in the tricky conditions invited Workington to pile the pressure early on, but the Knights defence characteristically held firm and went on to score the first points of the game after a quarter of an hour – Town failing to clear the ruck, allowing Connor Robinson to take a simple penalty goal.

Graeme Horne had a try ruled out for a forward pass, and Workington’s powerful centre Elliot Miller was convinced he had scored the home side’s first points but was deemed to be held up over the line. York’s lead was then extended to 0-6 after half an hour, as Ben Cockayne found space to create a 2-on-1 overlap and send Ash Robson over on the right touch line.

Town hit back just moments later when some great work from veteran prop Ollie Wilkes allowed winger Tylar Mellor to cross off the back of a slick passing move considering the worsening conditions, and the score was 4-6 at the break.

Another mistake in the first set after the break invited more pressure on the York line, and this time Workington took full advantage. League legend Fuifui Moimoi crashed over from two yards out to give Town the lead for the first time in the game at 8-6.

The game was turned on its head soon after, with the Knights landing two crucial counter-attacking blows in the space of five minutes. First, Carl Forber’s probing kick was picked off by Connor Robinson, who side stepped a flat footed Town player and raced home to score from 90 meters out. Another attacking Workington kick then found its way into Joe Batchelor’s arms just minutes later, and he too raced home to score from ‘only’ 80 meters out. Robinson goaled both tries and the Knights lead 8-18 after 55 minutes.

Leon Pryce’s Town team are made of stern stuff however and refused to let their heads drop. They were back to within one score of the Knights in the 67th minute when Elliot Miller picked up a kick through on the fly and crossed from 30 meters to finally earn a well deserved try.

The final ten minutes felt like a lifetime, but the Knights managed the closing stages of the game incredibly well to hold on for a vital 12th consecutive victory.

The Knights now have just three ‘Cup Finals’ remaining in this thrilling League 1 season, starting with a huge home game against Oldham at Bootham Crescent this Sunday (9th September, 3pm)…

Workington:  Forrester, Mellor, Miller, Singleton, Hambley, Doran, Forber, Wilkes, Penkywicz, Curwen, Morris, Olstrom, Scholey. Subs (all used): Dawson, Dickinson, Newton, Moi Moi.

Tries: Mellor 35, Moi Moi 43, Miller 67.

Goals: Forber (1/3).

Knights: Marsh, Robson, Batchelor, Hey, Oakes, Cockayne, C Robinson, Ronan Dixon, Ellis, Horne, Jordan-Roberts, Scott, Spears. Subs (all used): Carter, Edwards, A Robinson, Porter.

Tries: Robson (30), C Robinson (50), Batchelor (55).

Goals: C Robinson (3/4).

Attendance: 1623

Isaac Poad Man of the Match: Tim Spears

Photo credit: Ben Challis.