Knights lose golden point Cup thriller: Wednesday 26th June - 1895 Cup
York City Knights AB Sundecks 1895 Cup campaign came to an agonising end at Bootham Crescent last night, as a golden point field goal from Louis Jouffret sent Batley Bulldogs into the semi-finals.
Opting for fresh legs over experience, Knights Head Coach James Ford made no less than nine changes from the team that won at Swinton three days ago: Full-back Matty Marsh was injured, Jason Bass and Perry Whiteley were rested, and Hull FC loanee Cam Scott was cup-tied having played in the last round on dual-reg for Doncaster against Oldham. In came York Acorn junior Matt Chilton for his first ever game at Championship level, Hull KR loanee Will Oakes, Brad Hey and Judah Mazive, who made his first appearance since the win at Rochdale six weeks ago.
In the pack, battering ram Jack Teanby along with veteran stars Graeme Horne, Sam Scott and skipper Tim Spears all got to rest up, while experienced hooker Andy Ellis was unavailable. In came Jack Blagbrough, Mike Kelly, Joe Porter, Leeds loanee Tyler Dupree and hooker Harry Carter. Former Hemel Stag Marcus Stock started at loose forward and produced an ‘Isaac Poad Man of the Match’ display in the middle.
The Knights got off to the best possible start in just the third minute, when Batley spilled the ball on the half way line and half back Connor Robinson quickly gathered and scampered home to open the scoring on his 100th career appearance. Robinson expertly added the extras from the touch line for an early 6-0 lead.
The game settled down into an intriguing cup tie between two evenly matched teams before the Bulldogs gained the advantage with a number of repeat sets from penalties, and off the back of that field position managed to equalise with winger Johnny Campbell crossing down the left edge, despite Knights claims of the assist from Sam Smeaton initially going forward. Jouffret kicked the touch line conversion to level the scores in the 23rd minute.
From here on in the game disappointingly became quite scrappy, with frustratingly slow ruck speeds and a constant stream of penalties punctuating any opportunity for any free flowing rugby to be played, and the teams headed back into the sheds all square at the break.
The Knights retook the lead early in the second half as Batley were pulled up for obstruction when coming out of their own twenty metre zone, and Robinson added a relatively simple penalty goal.
A high tackle from Batley’s Paul Brearley on Ronan Dixon saw tempers boil over and fire the Bootham Crescent crowd up, but the ball went to ground in the resulting set. The Bulldogs forced a repeat set of their own but the Knights defence held firm.
York declined the opportunity to add two more points when awarded three quickfire penalties deep in the Batley half – all for ball stealing – instead opting to for for the try. Centre Brad Hey thought he had crossed for the Knights second try, but it was ruled out on advice from the touch judge.
Instead the visitors went straight back upfield from the resulting penalty, and worked the ball out to Sam Wood on the left edge who crossed to put the Bulldogs back in the lead at 8-10 just after the hour mark.
York were dealt an almost killer blow as they looked to wrestle the lead back, Liam Harris tried to force the pass to Josh Jordan-Roberts close to the Bulldogs line, but the ball went to ground and Batley’s French stand off Jouffret – who was a constant threat all game – raced home 90 metres to score. He converted his own try for what seemed like a crucial 8-16 lead with just ten minutes to go.
The young Knights refused give in however, and earned themselves a lifeline when hooker Will Jubb grounded a well placed kick from Harris close to the line in the 74th minute. Robinson added the conversion and the deficit was just two points.
With just ten seconds remaining York won a penalty for a ball steal 40 metres out, and as the full time hooter sounded Robinson calmly struck the ball between the uprights to send the game to extra time.
Captain Robinson won the toss and elected to kick off in golden point extra time, but the visitors produced five punishing drives up field before Jouffret stepped up to kick the match winning point from 35 metres out, sending the delirious Bulldogs into the AB Sundecks 1895 Cup semi-finals and just 80 minutes from Wembley.
Championship play-off chasing Knights now turn their attentions to a big afternoon of action at Bootham Crescent this Sunday (3pm), where we celebrate our Armed Forces in the city with another huge game against Dewsbury Rams. Victory will see the Knights confirm their place in the 2020 Betfred Championship with eight rounds remaining!
Knights 2020 season ticket renewals are on sale now, with prices frozen until July 31st as we prepare for our momentous move into the brand new York Community Stadium. For more information click HERE.
Knights: Chilton, Mazive, Salter, Hey, Oakes, Harris, Robinson, Baldwinson, Jubb, Blagbrough, Jordan-Roberts, Kelly, Stock. Subs (all used): Carter, Dixon, Dupree, Porter.
Tries: Robinson (3), Jubb (74).
Goals: Robinson (4/4).
Batley: D Scott, Walker, Smeaton, Broadbent, Campbell, Jouffret, Yates, Dickenson, Leak, Lillycrop, Downs, Brearley, Manning. Subs (all used): Brown, Taira, Ward, Wood.
Tries: Campbell (23), Wood (63), Jouffret (69).
Goals: Jouffret (2/3).
Field goal: Jouffret (82) (in extra time).
Isaac Poad Man of the Match: Marcus Stock