Knights progress after impressive Barrow victory: Sunday 31st March - Coral Challenge Cup

Published: 1 April, 2019 - 1:36 pm

A much changed York City Knights team produced a superb performance in Cumbria yesterday to beat Barrow Raiders 16-32 and progress to round five of the 2019 Coral Challenge Cup.

With one eye on maintaining the Knights impressive form in the Betfred Championship, head coach James Ford rested a number of key players after a bruising opening two months of the season. Ben Cockayne, Graeme Horne, Liam Salter, Connor Robinson, cup tied Joe Batchelor and Ronan Dixon all sat this one out with Marcus Stock, Dave Petersen and Mike Kelly all coming in, and young Kevin Brown produced a man of the match performance at full back in his senior debut. Matty Marsh and Will Jubb formed a new partnership at half back.

The Knights were further disrupted in the pre-match warm up as on-loan centre Nick Rawsthorne pulled up with a hamstring complaint, moving Brad Hey into the starting line-up and 18th man Jack Teanby joining the bench at late notice.

It was a fairly even start in bright but breezy conditions in Cumbria as both teams battled for field position, and it was the Knights that drew first blood with a double blow after a quarter of an hour – first Marcus Stock crashed over under the posts from close range with Matty Marsh converting, before a typically powerful finish from Perry Whiteley just two minutes later saw York quickly establish a ten point lead. The first of three Marsh penalties extended that lead to 12 with a quarter of the match gone.

Barrow hit back with their first score in the 26th minute when impressive forward Alec Susino driving over with Jamie Dallimore converting, and York’s problems grew when Conor McGrath was forced off with a shoulder injury, forcing prop Joe Porter to deputise in the back line. The Knights regained control thanks to a wonderful offload from Sam Scott to Dave Petersen, who sent Jack Teanby strolling through a perplexed Barrow defence untouched under the posts. Marsh converted and the Knights took a well deserved 6-18 lead into the sheds at half time.

Another Marsh penalty just two minutes after the restart crucially extended the lead to three scores, before the Raiders came firing back with a sustained period of dominance – a well timed pass from Dallimore put former Knight Josh Johnson over, before Tee Ritson ghosted through some soft defence on the right flank to score, and Dallimore’s conversion cut the deficit to 16-20. Two tries in as many minutes changed the complexion of the game and put the young Knights under a huge amount of pressure, but they are made of stern stuff and somehow weathered the storm.

Two late tries sealed the ‘rope a dope’ victory – first Josh Jordan-Roberts touched down a fifth tackle powerplay, before the outstanding Matty Marsh scampered over to give the scoreline a slightly flattering look.

The game ended on a sour note when Barrow lost their composure in the last minute of the game with Dallimore throwing a straight arm in the tackle, and from the resulting penalty Dan Toal was red carded for throwing a number of punches. Marsh added a third and final penalty as the hooter sounded and the Knights place in the next round was sealed.

The draw for round five of the Coral Challenge Cup will be held tonight at 7pm, as the first four Super League clubs join this year’s competition – Hull Kingston Rovers, Leeds Rhinos, London Broncos and Salford Red Devils – alongside the winners of the 12 fourth round ties. It will be streamed live on the BBC Sport website.

The Knights now turn their attentions to the visit of Swinton Lions to Bootham Crescent this Sunday (7th April) in what will be another cracking match in round nine of this exciting Championship season. Get your tickets online now from Eventbrite HERE!

Barrow: Cresswell, B Carter, Spedding, Cross, S Toal, Dallimore, Charnock, Johnson, Puara Jnr, Susino, Minoga, Morrow, D Toal. Subs (all used): Mossop, Ritson, Riley, Walker.

Tries: Susino (26), Johnson (45), Ritson (47).

Goals: Dallimore (2/3)

Sent Off: D. Toal (79 – Punching)

Knights: Brown, McGrath, Hey, Whiteley, Mazive, Marsh, Jubb, Blagbrough, Brining, Stock, Jordan-Roberts, Kelly, Spears. Subs (all used): Petersen, Teanby, Scott, Porter.

Tries: Stock (14), Whiteley (16), Teanby (32), Jordan-Roberts (75), Marsh (77).

Goals: Marsh (6/8)

Referee: G. Hewer

Isaac Poad Man of the Match: Kevin Brown

Attendance: 898