Knights reach Wembley after Swinton victory: Sunday 6th June - 1895 Cup
York City Knights 36 (18) – (12) 22 Swinton Lions
The Knights will be playing at Wembley next month after securing a 36-22 victory over Swinton Lions in our AB Sundecks 1895 Cup Semi-Final.
James Ford will be leading the team out at the national stadium after sealing the passage to the national stadium at the LNER Community Stadium and, despite Swinton having the first chance to score, it was the Knights who took the lead in the fifth minute.
Swinton were unable to capitalise on Jason Bass’ knock on deep in the Knights half when Mitch Cox was bundled into touch and, on the next set and after being awarded a set restart, Liam Salter opened the scoring. Benefitting from a half-break made by the returning Riley Dean, Matty Marsh was able to get the headguarded-Salter through the line to gallop round to the sticks. Kieran Dixon began his flawless afternoon with the boot to extend the Knights’ lead.
The Knights thrashed Swinton earlier in the year at Heywood Road in the Betfred Championship but any thoughts that this afternoon would turn out similar to that were dispelled when the Lions equalised and then went ahead through Mike Butt and, then, Huddersfield Giants loanee Ronan Michael.
Butt’s effort came after a drop-out was forced and Geronimo Doyle was able to throw a looping pass to his winger to go over acrobatically in the corner. Shortly after, Swinton punished Knights indiscipline when Michael crashed over close to the sticks. Half-back Martyn Ridyard converted both efforts to give the visitors a 12-6 lead just short of the twenty-minute mark.
Interchange forward Marcus Stock would go onto narrow the deficit with an immediate impact off the bench, breaking the defensive line before forcing his way over from close range. Dixon again added the two and, with the scores level, the Knights would go into the break ahead thanks to Ryan Atkins.
With Matty Marsh making a half-break, the centre was on hand to catch the offload to get over the line. Dixon added the two and the Knights led 18-12 at the break.
Fresh from the interval, hooker Kriss Brining – who would go on to be named the Official Man of the Match – forced his way over from dummy-half, Dixon converting his fourth effort of the afternoon to extend the lead to 24-12.
With 25 minutes left, you would perhaps have been forgiven for thinking the Knights killed the game after Danny Kirmond went over for his first try in Knights colours after good work from Chris Clarkson and Dean, but Swinton hit back with Butt scoring his second of the afternoon. Dixon converted Kirmond’s effort while Ridyard’s attempt from Butt’s try hit the posts.
The Knights, perhaps feeling the pressure with Wembley in touching distance, began to give away a few penalties to give Swinton opportunities but, when the visitors tried to threaten down their right, an excellent read from Dixon led to the clincher.
Our number five put a big hit on Luis Roberts, forcing the ball loose ten yards from the Knights line and Mikey Lewis – in the halves after previously playing full-back for the club – was first to it, going on to race 90m to score under the sticks.
Butt would go over again in the dying seconds, sealing his hat-trick, but that was nothing more than a consolation and it would be Ford’s Knights who would book their spot at Wembley on Saturday 17th July.
York City Knights: Matty Marsh, Jason Bass, Liam Salter, Ryan Atkins, Kieran Dixon, Riley Dean, Mikey Lewis, Jack Teanby, Will Jubb, Adam Cuthbertson, Danny Kirmond, Sam Scott, Chris Clarkson.
Interchanges: Kriss Brining, Jordan Baldwinson, Marcus Stock, James Green.
Tries: Liam Salter (5), Marcus Stock (25), Ryan Atkins (37), Kriss Brining (43), Danny Kirmond (54), Mikey Lewis (69)
Goals: Kieran Dixon (6/6)
Swinton Lions: Geronimo Doyle, Luis Roberts, Rhodri Lloyd, Mitch Cox, Mike Butt, Martyn Ridyard, Jack Hansen, Ronan Michael, Luke Waterworth, Sam Brooks, Deane Meadows, Nick Gregson, Billy Brickhill.
Interchanges: Paddy Jones, Louis Brogan, Will Hope, Cobi Green.
Tries: Mike Butt (14, 58, 78), Ronan Michael (18)
Goals: Martyn Ridyard (3/4)
Burflex Man of the Match: Kriss Brining
Picture courtesy of Jordan Benjamin-Sutton