York Knights fell to a 46-16 defeat to unbeaten Betfred Championship leaders Featherstone Rovers at the 2023 Summer Bash at the LNER Community Stadium.
In a gutsy performance from an understrength York, the Knights trailed by just two scores at half-time at 16-4, despite losing Conor Fitzsimmons to the sin-bin.
Tries from Gareth Gale, Gadwin Springer and McKenzie Yei put Featherstone ahead at the break, with Jesse Dee responding for York.
Rovers furthered their lead through two further scores from Gareth Gale as well as four-pointers from Connor Jones and Johnathon Ford.
The Knights did however finish with a couple of tries in the final 10 minutes - from Joe Brown and Josh Daley - though Thomas Lacans and Gale also crossed late on for Fev.
Despite the defeat, there was no faulting York's effort, especially in denying Featherstone in the opening dozen minutes.
Gale did however open the scoring from Ford’s pass to the left, after Brad Day's offload.
Following the sin-binning of Fitzsimmons, Featherstone doubled their advantage when Gadwin Springer barged his way over under the sticks from close-range, with Daniel Smith adding the conversion.
The 12-player York responded with a try on the right edge through Jesse Dee, who ran onto Chris Clarkson’s short ball.
With four minutes to go until the break, Featherstone reaffirmed their two-score lead as Lacans’ grubber kick was finished by interchange Yei. Jack Bussey converted from in front of the sticks, his first of five goals from seven attempts, to take Fev into a 16-4 lead heading into the break.
Featherstone showed their attacking class in the second half. A stunning round-the-back pass from Chris Hankinson gave Gale his second try and the winger completed his hat-trick when capitalising on James Cunningham's drop to a Ford bomb.
Sean Long’s side then raced clear through Lacans’ break down the middle which Jones finished under the sticks before John Davies sent Ford over to the left of the sticks.
Knights heads did not drop however. From a scrum, Daley’s chip over the Fev line fell into the hands of Brown to surge clear and the assister turned scorer when bouncing his way off a defender to squirm over.
Rovers sandwiched two tries in-between, with Lacans dummying his way through before Gale found his fourth in the final minute.
York Knights: Brown, Towse, Glover, Dee, Butterworth, Cunningham, Daley, Kirby, Jubb, Fitzsimmons, Clarkson, Field, Michael
Subs (all used): Harrison, Ta'ai, Teanby, Barnard
Tries: Dee (27’), Brown (70’), Daley (77’)
Goals: Glover (2/3)
Sin-bin: Fitzsimmons (18')
Featherstone: Aekins, Briscoe, Hardcastle, Hankinson, Gale, Ford, Lacans, Springer, Wildie, Kopczak, Day, Bussey, D. Smith
Subs (all used): Jones, Davies, Moors, Yei
Tries: Gale (12’, 48’, 60’, 80’), Springer (19’) Yei (36’), Jones (62’), Ford (67’), Lacans (74’)
Goals: D. Smith (1/2), Bussey (5/7)
Referee: Scott Mikalauskas
Geoff Pryce Player of the Match in partnership with Isaac Poad Brewing: Josh Daley