Knights overcome Sheffield to reach Betfred Challenge Cup Round Two: Friday 19th March - Betfred Challenge Cup
Sheffield Eagles (6) 6-30 (20) York City Knights
York City Knights last night defeated Sheffield Eagles 30-6 at Doncaster’s Keepmoat Stadium to secure our spot in Round Two of the Betfred Challenge Cup.
Coming into the game after last week’s pre-season fixture against Hull FC, Ford had welcome selection problems ahead of the match and was able to welcome captain Chris Clarkson back into the squad after he sat out the previous match.
Ford handed competitive debuts to Ben Jones-Bishop, Ryan Atkins, Kieran Dixon, Danny Kirmond and Brendan O’Hagan, the latter of whom was awarded Our League’s Man of the Match after an impressive personal display.
His last tackle grubber into the corner saw Perry Whiteley score his first try of the season in just the third minute with fellow winger Kieran Dixon kicking an impressive touchline conversion – the first of five two-pointers the former London Broncos man would kick through the match.
Despite that quick start, the Knights were pegged back just after the quarter hour mark when Sheffield hooker Greg Burns forced his way over from close-range. Izaac Farrell converted but, despite a lot of territory, they would prove to be the only points the Eagles scored.
Ford admitted post match that the Knights’ performance was “nearly good” but, despite handling errors and penalties going against his team, it was the Knights who would score next through hooker Kriss Brining who, similarly to Burns, barged over from dummy half and put us back in the lead.
In the following set, a bit of brilliance from forward Marcus Stock set Ben Jones-Bishop free to run in from halfway. After James Green skittled a couple of Sheffield defenders, Stock hit a great line behind the ruck and, after drawing in the Eagles’ full-back, passed right to Jones-Bishop who went over under the sticks on his competitive debut.
A penalty kick on the hooter from Dixon stretched our lead to 20-6 at the break.
The Knights started the second period with an early break from Jones-Bishop. Claiming a loose ball within our own ten metres, the full-back raced eighty yards only to be stopped by a superb covering run from Oliver Davies.
Strong defence was required thereafter, with the Knights stopping both Ryan Millar and Rob Worrincy – a group dragging the latter into touch after the experienced Anthony Thackeray’s wide pass.
Thackeray was at the heart of most of Sheffield’s good work but it was the Knights’ own half-back star O’Hagan who produced a sublime cut-out pass which took two Sheffield defenders out of the game and gave Whiteley enough space to score his second try of the night on the hour.
The winger almost – and perhaps should have – had a hat-trick after more good work from O’Hagan saw the Australian in space approaching Sheffield’s line. He threw a wide pass to Whiteley who elected to kick through but didn’t get it quite right.
Ryan Atkins, though, did extend our lead and sealed our spot in the draw for the next round with the last play of the game. Working the ball left, Matty Marsh – in the halves for the evening – passed to Jones-Bishop whose sumptuous left foot grubber gave both Atkins and Dixon something to chase. The bounce of the ball favoured the centre who promptly ran the ball round under the sticks to make Dixon’s conversion attempt simple and he made the final score 30-6 to the Knights.
Official Man of the Match: Joe Porter
Sheffield: J. Guzdek, R. Worrincy, R. Johnson, J. Glover, R. Millar, I Farrell, A. Thackeray, B. Knowles, G. Burns, M. James, O. Davies, J Farrell, A. Brown.
Subs (all used): R. Ward, B. Broadbent, P Burns, T. Dickinson.
Tries: G Burns (16)
Goals: I Farrell (1/1)
York: B. Jones-Bishop, P. Whiteley, J. Bass, R. Atkins, K. Dixon, M. Marsh, B. O’Hagan, J. Baldwinson, W. Jubb, J. Teanby, C. Clarkson, D. Kirmond, D. Washbrook.
Subs (all used): K. Brining, M. Stock, J. Green, J. Porter.
Tries: P. Whiteley (4, 60), K. Brining (32), B. Jones-Bishop (35), R. Atkins (80)
Goals: K. Dixon (5/6)