Knights win on Atkins’ 400th appearance: Sunday 22nd August - Betfred Championship
York City Knights 30 (12)-(6) 12 Whitehaven RLFC
York City Knights returned to winning ways this afternoon at the LNER Community Stadium, defeating Whitehaven RLFC 30-12 as Ryan Atkins made his 400th career appearance.
After last weekend’s tough defeat against Featherstone Rovers, James Ford made six changes to the team due to injuries, with Marcus Stock, James Green, Danny Washbrook, Perry Whiteley, Danny Kirmond and Liam Salter all coming back into the matchday squad, the latter in an unfamiliar wing berth.
Those alterations, though, didn’t hamper the Knights as Ford’s men started quickly. Off the back of a penalty, the Knights made their way up the pitch. Full-back Ben Jones-Bishop went close before, on the next play, captain Chris Clarkson’s flat pass found Jack Teanby and the big prop dived over the line to open the scoring. Matty Marsh, passed fit despite picking up a groin injury against Featherstone last weekend, added on the two points from bang in front of the sticks to extend our lead.
Shortly afterwards, Jones-Bishop added to the Knights’ lead. Sam Scott, again impressive, offloaded to the full-back who powered his way over despite close attention from the visitors’ defence. Marsh, again, added the two.
In a first half that saw Whitehaven use the one-on-one steal effectively and both teams guilty of handling errors, the visitors would go on to narrow their deficit with Lachlan Walmsley finishing in the corner after good work from centre Karl Dixon. The Australian winger converted from the touchline, leaving the score at 12-6 just after the twenty-minute mark.
That would remain the score until the half-time break and, with the words of Ford fresh in their minds, a quick start to the second period followed.
Stock, returning after missing the previous two matches due to being a Covid-19 close contact, crashed over from close range from Corey Johnson’s smart dummy-half pass. Marsh goaled and the Knights led by twelve.
As Whitehaven errors increased and those of the Knights lessened, two tries in five minutes either side of the hour mark took the game away from Whitehaven – with Dow-Nikau at the heart of the first.
With a play looking like it had broken down after a dummy-half pass went to ground, Johnson and Clarkson were able to recover and the latter gave Dow-Nikau a pass in a good position. Drawing in the defenders, the centre then threw an outstanding one-handed pass to winger Perry Whiteley to go over for an easy finish. Marsh would continue his faultless afternoon with the boot, adding the two to give the Knights an eighteen point lead.
Whitehaven’s kick-off went out on the full and, when Marsh gave Scott the Knights’ fifth try of the afternoon, the game was up for the Cumbrians and the Knights had exacted revenge for their disappointing showing in defeat to our visitors earlier this season.
Ford will no doubt have been impressed with the commitment shown when the Knights’ defence scrambled to stop Ryan King scoring when the forward carried at pace. The celebrations typified the togetherness that has become synonymous with Ford’s Knights teams in recent years, something which has been questioned at times this year.
A late converted try from Jake Bradley wasn’t enough to dampen the mood of the Knights players, staff and supporters and, as the hooter sounded, those in white, amber and black celebrated a third win in four matches – and a third consecutive win at the LNER Community Stadium.
York City Knights: Ben Jones-Bishop, Perry Whiteley, Tyme Dow-Nikau, Ryan Atkins, Liam Salter, Matty Marsh, Corey Johnson, Ronan Dixon, Will Jubb, Jack Teanby, Sam Scott, James McDonnell, Chris Clarkson.
Interchanges: Danny Washbrook, Marcus Stock, James Green, Danny Kirmond
Tries: Jack Teanby (3), Ben Jones-Bishop (14), Marcus Stock (42), Perry Whiteley (58), Sam Scott (62)
Goals: Matty Marsh (5/5)
Whitehaven: Gregg McNally, Andrew Bulman, Jason Mossop, Karl Dixon, Lachlan Walmsley, Louis Jouffret, Nikau Williams, Marc Shackley, Connor Newton, Guy Graham, Connor Holliday, Liam Cooper, Jake Bradley
Interchanges: Dion Aiye, Ryan King, Oscar Thomas, Andy Thornley
Tries: Lachlan Walmsley (20), Jake Bradley (78)
Goals: Lachlan Walmsley (2/2)
Man of the Match, in partnership with Burflex Scaffolding – Tyme Dow-Nikau, sponsored by Haxby Sports Bar
Picture courtesy of Jordan Benjamin-Sutton