Play off chasing Knights rout Hornets: Sunday 16th June - Betfred Championship
York City Knights produced a flawless display in sunshine and showers at Bootham Crescent yesterday, running in eleven tries and keeping a clean sheet to beat Rochdale Hornets 60-0 and stay right in the thrilling Betfred Championship play off race.
The Knights worked hard and remained patient to build up a 26-0 lead by half time, before cutting loose in devastating fashion in the second half – mostly down the left edge, with the Junior Vaivai and Perry Whiteley partnership simply unstoppable at times.
Head Coach James Ford made six changes to the team that narrowly lost to second-placed Toulouse Olympique 8 days ago. Fit again Vaivai came in for Brad Hey, Whiteley took Will Oakes’ right wing spot, Ronan Dixon returned from a five week lay off in place of Jack Blagbrough, Tyler Dupree replaced Joe Porter, Josh Jordan-Roberts returned after Harry Aldous was recalled by Newcastle, and veteran hooker Andy Ellis came out of retirement to cover injuries to Kriss Brining & Harry Carter.
Ellis made his first Knights appearance since the Betfred League 1 title clinching victory over Whitehaven last September, and didn’t look at all out of place in a 30 minute shift either side of half time.
York set the tone early by forcing a repeat set, and Liam Harris timed his pass well enough for Liam Salter to stretch out and open the scoring. Connor Robinson missed his first conversion attempt, but finished the game with a healthy 8 from 11 – a number of goals coming from out wide.
The second try in the 16th minute was fortuitous as a pass from Harris went to ground, and Robinson took full advantage of the hesitant Hornets defence to send Matty Marsh in for the first try of his brace and a 10-0 lead. Robinson and Marsh combined again with a sublime break from halfway just before the half hour mark to extend the lead to 16 points.
Fast hands out to the left edge in the red zone saw Whiteley stroll over for the first try of his hat-trick just three minutes later, then a wonderful 80 meter break from Marsh turned defence into attack just two minutes before half time, and the impressive Marcus Stock crashed over two plays later.
Any concerns that the Knights would ease up in the second half were soon erased when Liam Harris scored a trademark try just two minutes after the restart – the diminutive half back ghosting through the Rochdale defence untouched to score by the posts.
The try of the afternoon came in the 55th minute, and should surely be an #OURLEAGUE app ‘try of the week’ contender – Hornets were asking questions with two repeat sets on the Knights try line, and a high kick was put to the corner. Whiteley out-jumped Shaun Ainscough for a well taken catch, before then beating one Rochdale tackler and getting a superb offload away to Vaivai, who raced 85 meters home to score.
Some inventive play from Harris and Stock set Jack Teanby up to crash over for the next try on the hour mark, before three tries in the last ten minutes – all down the left edge – completed the rout.
Vaivai drew defenders on two separate occasions in the 70th and 77th minute from a scrum on halfway, allowing Whiteley to race home and complete a memorable hat trick with two near identical tries. Sandwiched in between that, Robinson sliced through the tired Hornets defence to send Sam Scott over for another classy try in the 74th minute.
The Knights now turn their attentions to a trip to Swinton Lions this Sunday (23rd June, 3pm) as they look to maintain their remarkable Betfred Championship play off push. Travel on the York Pullman supporter’s bus to any UK away game in 2019 for just £15 Adults (£10 concessions) – to book your place contact the office on 01904 876527 or email firstname.lastname@example.org ASAP!
Knights: Marsh, Bass, Salter, Vaivai, Whiteley, Harris, Robinson, Horne, Jubb, Teanby, Jordan-Roberts, Scott, Spears. Subs (all used): Ellis, Dixon, Dupree, Stock.
Tries: Salter (7), Marsh (16, 28), Whiteley (31, 70, 77), Stock (37), Harris (42), Vaivai (55), Teanby (60), Scott (74).
Goals: Robinson (8/11).
Hornets: Abram, Ainscough, Williams, Worthington, Wood, Thomas, Farrell, Lawton, Moore, Marriott, Baker, Weldon, Robson. Subs (all used): Moores, Mitchell, Talatoka, Gleeson.
Isaac Poad Man of the Match: Perry Whiteley