Widnes end bruised Knights cup run: Saturday 13th April - Coral Challenge Cup
Four tries from debutant Sam Freeman helped Widnes Vikings knock an inexperienced York City Knights side out of the Coral Challenge Cup at the fifth round stage at a chilly Halton Stadium on Saturday night.
Knights Head Coach James Ford opted to make a number of changes for the tie, with experienced campaigners Graeme Horne, Sam Scott, Tim Spears and Ben Cockayne as well as strike players Connor Robinson, Liam Salter, Matty Marsh and Jack Teanby all needing to rest various knocks after a bruising opening ten weeks of the season. Joe Batchelor was also cup tied.
Loan players Lewis Heckford and Jordan Baldwinson both impressed on their Knights debuts.
York got off to the best possible start after the Widnes kick off went out on the full and at the end of the first set Brad Hey – in the unfamiliar role of second row – reacted quickest to a kick from Heckford that bounced off the post to score. Nick Rawsthorne added the extras.
Widnes hit straight back with Freeman’s first try, after half-back Danny Craven had broken through down the left. Jack Owens added the first of his six conversions from wide out.
The Vikings extended their lead on the half hour mark as Owen’s cut out pass sent Freeman strolling home for his second try as the Knights reeled from losing Kriss Brining to a calf injury and Rawsthorne to a head knock.
Widnes landed a hammer blow on the stroke of half-time as Bass was caught flat-footed under a kick, allowing Keenan Brand to swoop in in and score to make it 18-6 at the break. That deficit became 22-6 10 minutes into the second half as Freeman completed his hat-trick with a dive into the corner.
York refused to give in and debutant Jordan Baldwinson crashed over, with Heckford taking over goalkicking to make the score 22-10 at the hour mark.
Baldwinson (dead leg), Joe Porter (hip), Mike Kelly (shoulder) and Kevin Brown (head knock) were all forced leave the game in the final quarter and the Vikings took full advantage over the 11 man Knights, with Freeman adding a fourth, before Joe Lyons, Ryan Ince and Owens all scored late tries to blow the final scoreline out.
Attentions now turn back to the Betfred Championship and a huge Easter weekend of action as the Knights look to patch themselves up and bounce back to winning ways in a blockbuster weekend of action, starting with a trip to Featherstone Rovers on Good Friday, before a quick rematch against Widnes Vikings at Bootham Crescent on Easter Monday.
Call the office now on 01904 876527 to book your place on the supporter’s bus to Featherstone on Good Friday for just £15!
Alternatively, sign up to the ‘Our League App’ to watch Featherstone Rovers v York City Knights live on your mobile device from 6pm on Good Friday – don’t forget to select York City Knights as your team when signing up!
And get your tickets for the Knights huge game against Widnes at Bootham Crescent on Easter Monday by clicking HERE!
Vikings: Owens, Ince, Gelling, Brand, Freeman, Craven, Lyons, Chapelhow, Johnstone, Cahill, Dean, Wilde, Leuluai. Subs (all used): Chapelhow, Roby, Farnworth, Walsh.
Tries: Freeman (5, 31, 49, 63), Brand (38), Lyons (70), Ince (75), Owens (76)
Goals: Owens (6/8)
Knights: Brown, Mazive, Bass, Rawsthorne, Whiteley, Heckford, Brining, Baldwinson, Jubb, Blagbrough, Hey, Jordan-Roberts, Porter. Subs (all used): Petersen, Stock, Kelly, Dixon.
Tries: Hey (2), Baldwinson (53)
Goals: Rawsthorne (1/1), Heckford (1/1)
Isaac Poad Man of the Match: Will Jubb