Scrappy Knights tame Cougars: Sunday 25th March - League 1

Published: 26 March, 2018 - 3:54 pm

York City Knights saw off a dogged Keighley Cougars to claim two more vital Betfred League 1 points in a scrappy game at Bootham Crescent yesterday.

Big performances from pack men Graeme Horne, Colton Roche, Josh Johnson and Adam Robinson helped set the platform for victory alongside an inspired 80 minute performance from Will Jubb at hooker, with a spectacular 90 metre try from Joe Batchelor being the highlight of the day.

The Knights preparations were disrupted by the withdrawal of Matty Marsh and Liam Salter, but Liam Jackson and the ever improving Jake Normington ensured that the dual registered players weren’t missed too much.

York got off to a dream start off the back of consecutive penalties and a goal line drop out pinning the Cougars deep in their own half, and Tim Spears ran onto a ball at full speed and over the top of Keighley full back Richie Hawkyard. Connor Robinson added the first of five successful conversions of the afternoon for a 6-0 lead after seven minutes.

Against the run of play, Keighley drew level after 18 minutes with their first attack on the Knights line. A penalty against the home team ‘piggybacked’ them up the field and Perry Whiteley powered over from the resulting set. Former Knight Benn Hardcastle converted.

Jake Normington – a huge presence in the Knights back line – took three Cougars defenders over the try line with him to score on 26 minutes to regain the lead for York. Ash Robson – showing a welcome return to form up to this point – departed with injury, so Kieren Moss reverted to full back and was faultless throughout.

Connor Robinson’s second half restart sailed out on the full allowing Keighley to start on the front foot, however a probing kick from Hardcastle was blocked by Joe Batchelor, who then expertly picked the ball up off his bootlaces before racing 90 metres to score a spectacular try – the inform second rower outpacing the entire Keighley back line in the process.

The Knights and Cougars then both appeared to have a legitimate try each ruled out within moments of each other – seemingly chalked off for being in touch.

York extended their lead to 24-6 just short of the hour mark thanks to a classic hooker’s try from Will Jubb. The Knights were in full control, but a wild pass in midfield from Tim Spears gifted Keighley their second try against the run of play – Hamish Barnes gathering the loose ball and racing 45 metres to score.

Connor Robinson’s second penalty attempt at goal was successful, meaning York crucially remained three scores in front at 26-12. From there, the Knights managed to see the game out and secure two important league points, ahead of a huge trip to leaders Doncaster on Good Friday…

Knights: Robson, Mazive, Normington, Hey, Moss, Cockayne, C Robinson, Horne, Jubb, Johnson, Batchelor, Scott, Spears. Subs (all used): A Robinson, Siddons, Roche, Jackson.

Tries: Spears (7); Normington (27); Batchelor (43); Jubb (56).

Goals: C Robinson (5/6)

Keighley: Hawkyard, Aaronson, Barnes, Ryder, Gabriel, Hardcastle, Fairhurst, Kenga, Wright, Bailey, Whiteley, Tonks, Emmett. Subs (all used): Law, Lynam, Tahraoui, Gaylor.

Tries: Whiteley (19); Barnes (63).

Goals: Hardcastle (2/2)

Isaac Poad Man of the match: Will Jubb.

Attendance: 1,481

Photo credit: Craig Hawkhead.