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Bradford Bulls 22-8 York Knights - Match Report

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York Knights’ 2023 Betfred Championship season came to an end after a 22-8 defeat to Bradford Bulls in the Play-Off Eliminators at Odsal Stadium.

York built an 8-0 lead after the first half-an-hour thanks to a Jesse Dee try and two Liam Harris goals.

But Bradford responded with Fenton Rogers and Kevin Appo scores before half-time to go in front before Tom Holmes extended that lead shortly after the restart.

Jordan Lilley landed five goals from as many attempts to put the Bulls into the Betfred Championship Play-Off Semi-Finals and end the Knights’ 2023 season.

Having won 10 of their final 11 matches to reach the top six, the trip to Odsal proved a step too far for Andrew Henderson’s side, who were missing 11 players through injury.

Bradford thought they had taken an early lead when Ben Blackmore dived over in the right corner after seven minutes but the referee ruled Holmes’ pass to the winger as forward.

The Knights broke the deadlock after a quarter of an hour, when Bradford were caught offside, allowing Liam Harris to slot over his 100th goal for York.

A little over five minutes later, Dee charged through the Bradford line from Will Jubb’s dummy-half pass, the try eventually confirmed by the video referee. Harris landed the conversion for a two-score lead.

Bradford finished the first half strongly though and two quick-fire tries gave them the advantage at the interval.

A Holmes break set the platform for Lee Gaskell’s chip-and-chase to a goal-line drop-out. From there, a six-again and a penalty were conceded by the Knights before the pressure told on the away line, interchange Rogers crashing over from George Flanagan Snr’s short ball under the sticks.

After Harris kicked out on the full, another substitute crossed the whitewash, Appo driving over through a fantastic carry down the right edge.

Jordan Lilley converted both scores for a 12-8 lead the Bulls at the break.

The hosts picked up from where they left off in the second half, with Eribe Doro’s offload setting away Lilley, who put the supporting Holmes over the whitewash.

The assister remained 100% from the tee when adding the conversion and went on to contribute two further penalty goals in the final quarter to take the contest beyond the Knights.

Bradford: Holmes, Blackmore, Arundel, Gill, Taufua, Gaskell, Lilley, Lawrence, Flanagan Snr, Matongo, Wallace, Butler, Baitieri

Subs (all used): Appo, Rogers, Wynne, Doro

Tries: Rogers (34’), Appo (37’), Holmes (44’)

Goals: Lilley (5/5)

York: Brown, Bass, Kirmond, Clarkson, Towse, Dee, Harris, Santi, Jubb, Ta’ai, Fitzsimmons, Field, Thompson

Subs used: Michael, Pauli, Pemberton. Subs not used: Price

Tries: Dee (21’)

Goals: Harris (2/2)

Referee: Tom Grant

Geoff Pryce Player of the Match in partnership with Isaac Poad Brewing: Ukuma Ta’ai


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