Knights repel Bulldogs fightback: Sunday 5th May - Betfred Championship
York City Knights withstood a strong second half performance from Batley Bulldogs at a chilly Bootham Crescent yesterday, to emerge 28-24 winners and move back into the Betfred Championship play-off places.
Knights Captain Tim Spears returned from injury to face his old club, and Graeme Horne also came back into the team. Sam Scott picked up an injury in last week’s trip to Toulouse and was replaced by Josh Jordan-Roberts.
York struck first after eight minutes when full back Matty Marsh pounced on a Connor Robinson grubber kick to open the scoring., and Robinson added the first of four successful conversions.
Batley hit back five minutes later when Johnny Campbell grounded the loose ball after Judah Mazive struggled to deal with Dom Brambani’s cross field kick. The touch line conversion was missed at 6-4.
Connor Robinson then extended the Knights lead midway through the first half when Galbraith failed to take in Robinson’s towering kick, and Liam Salter was quickest to react before sending the York half back home to score.
The Knights stretched their lead to 16-4 after 23 minutes as Batley were once again outfoxed by a probing Robinson kick and forward Marcus Stock was on hand to ground the ricocheting loose ball.
Batley responded when powerful forward Lewis Bienek barrelled his way over on the last tackle, with Dave Scott converting.
York scored again on the stroke of half time when prop Ronan Dixon was on hand to support a midfield break from Cain Southernwood – the former Batley player making his Knights home debut – and York took a hard earned 22-10 lead into the sheds at the break.
The Bulldogs showed their Championship pedigree in the second half, dominating territory and possession against the tiring Knights who were perhaps feeling the effects of a tough Easter period followed by a trip to the South of France. The early loss of forwards Jack Teanby and Graeme Horne compounding matters.
Johnny Campbell’s second try just before the hour mark broke the second half deadlock, before Knights hooker Will Jubb spotted a small gap in the Batley defence close to the try line to score a crucial try and extend the lead to 28-14.
The visitors refused to go away though and their hopes grew when Bienek crashed over for his second try off the back of a penalty, and Alex Bretherton broke through some tired Knights defence to reduce York’s lead to just four points with seven minutes remaining.
Dom Brambani sent up a huge ‘hail Mary’ kick as the clock ran down, desperately searching for a winning try, but winger Perry Whiteley took a fantastic catch under pressure, much to the delight and relief of the near two thousand strong crowd of York fans.
The Knights now turn their attentions to the rescheduled Betfred Championship Round 6 match at Rochdale Hornets next Sunday, where a win would see the Knights sit in third place with half of the season gone. Tickets are priced at just £13 adults and £10 concessions, with children under 16 completely free.
Knights: Marsh, Mazive, Bass, Salter, Whiteley, Southernwood, Robinson, Baldwinson, Jubb, Teanby, Jordan-Roberts, Stock, Spears. Subs (all used): Brining, Horne, Blagbrough, Dixon.
Tries: Marsh (8), Robinson (17), Stock (23), Dixon (40), Jubb (62).
Goals: Robinson (4/6)
Batley: D Scott, Galbraith, Smeaton, Wood, Campbell, Jouffret, Brambani, Gledhill, Leak, Everett, Brearley, Bretherton, Manning. Subs (all used): Bienek, Brown, Butterworth, Ward.
Tries: Campbell (13, 58), Bienek (35, 65), Bretherton (73).
Goals: Scott (2/4).
Isaac Poad Man of the Match: Jason Bass