Knights win on fans’ return: Sunday 23rd May - Betfred Championship
York City Knights 34 (6) – (6) 6 Oldham RLFC
1000 Knights fans graced the LNER Community Stadium on Sunday afternoon for a match will go down as the first at York’s new stadium with fans in – and they saw James Ford’s men record their first Betfred Championship victory of the season with a 34-6 win over a gutsy Oldham RLFC.
Ford commented in the run up to the match of how much he was looking forward to the Knights’ new signings experiencing the support of our fans and the thousand who were in certainly made themselves heard, the long-awaited roar gracing the players as they went into the dressing rooms after the warm-ups.
The vocal support was behind the Knights from the off but, after a messy start to the match, it was the visitors who scored first. Oldham built pressure and had previously gone close through winger Ryan Ince before forward Shaun Pick forced his way over from close range. Dan Abram converted to extend the visitors’ lead.
That setback would prove to spur the Knights on, however. Making the most of a penalty in our own half, Ford’s men made good ground upfield and hooker Will Jubb would be the first to a loose Riley Dean grubber, which ricocheted around before the number nine narrowed the deficit. Winger Kieran Dixon, fresh from passing 1000 career points last weekend, would close the gap to level the scores at 6-6 with 17 minutes played.
The rest of the half remained scoreless, with both sides having spells of pressure while also coming up with errors.
A flashpoint did occur, however, just before half-time. First to a loose ball following a David Hewitt kick, Tyme Dow-Nikau began the race upfield and was only stopped by a sickening high tackle from Oldham’s debutant full-back Tom Nisbet, the St Helens loanee sent off for the indiscretion.
The scores were level at half-time, but it would only prove to be a matter of time before the Knights made the man advantage tell.
On the 52nd minute, Dixon put the Knights in the lead. The returning Kriss Brining worked the ball right from dummy-half and Adam Cuthbertson threw wider to Riley Dean. The half-back threw his customary looping pass wide to Dixon and, on the bounce, the winger gathered and finished from ten metres out.
A tough conversion attempt was successful and it would be the man who threw the assisting pass who would strike next.
On the last tackle, Dean elected to run and passed left to Sam Scott who, charging onto the ball at pace, closed in on the line. When the tackle looked sure to be complete, the back-rower produced a great offload to the waiting Dean who had the simplest of finishes, leaving the Knights 16-6 ahead just before the hour.
Two minutes later, Matty Marsh once again showcased his playmaking and supporting class to extend the Knights’ lead. Working the ball right from left, Marsh brilliantly put a galloping James McDonnell through a hole in the Oldham defence. Drawing in the full-back, McDonnell had options left and right to finish off the move and elected to pass left to Marsh who would outstrip the full-back for pace and score under the sticks. Dixon’s conversion attempt was successful and a now-rampant Knights would go on to score further.
Captain Chris Clarkson was able to force his way over from close range after repeat sets deep in Oldham territory eventually proved too much for the visitors before, with five minutes remaining, Jubb scored his second of the afternoon with a great barge over from dummy-half.
The closing stages saw the Knights fans find their voices and, after the hooter, the welcome sight of the players going to each of the stands with fans in to applaud their support capped off a great first afternoon of action for fans at the LNER Community Stadium.
York: Mikey Lewis, Kieran Dixon, Tyme Dow-Nikau, Ryan Atkins, Ben Jones-Bishop, Matty Marsh, Riley Dean, Jordan Baldwinson, Will Jubb, James Green, James McDonnell, Sam Scott, Chris Clarkson
Interchanges: Ronan Dixon, Adam Cuthbertson, Kriss Brining, Marcus Stock
Tries: Will Jubb (17, 75), Kieran Dixon (52), Riley Dean (59), Matty Marsh (61), Chris Clarkson (67)
Goals: Kieran Dixon (5/6)
Oldham: Thomas Nisbet, Tommy Brierley, Danny Bridge, Max Roberts, Ryan Ince, Dan Abram, David Hewitt, Liam Kirk, Declan Gregory, Luke Nelmes, Shaun Pick, Danny Langtree, Liam Bent
Interchanges: Jamie Abram, Martyn Reilly, Matthew Fletcher, Tyler Dupree
Tries: Shaun Pick (13)
Goals: Dan Abram (1/1)
Burflex Scaffolding Man of the Match: Sam Scott
Photo courtesy of Jordan Sutton