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Field: We're expecting a step up against Sheffield



York Knights face Sheffield Eagles in Round Four of the Betfred Challenge Cup this afternoon (3pm) in a meeting of two of last season’s top six in the Betfred Championship!


Ahead of the clash, we spoke to back-rower Oli Field, who is proudly sponsored by Building Addiction Group, to discuss York’s start to 2024, taking the Number 11 shirt and his “crazy” Knights debut against Sheffield last season!


Thanks for joining us, Oli! How do you sum up the 2024 season so far?

“I think that we’ve learned a lot about ourselves over the last three weeks and it’s been a learning curve for us.

“Newcastle wasn’t the most competitive game, meaning no disrespect to them, whereas Wakefield was the other end of the spectrum. Dewsbury was probably somewhere in between and we probably learnt a lot and learnt about things that you can’t really find out in pre-season training sessions. 

“So there’s a lot of positives to take so far as well as a lot of takeaways for areas of improvement.”


Looking back on the win at Dewsbury last time out, what are your reflections on that game?

“It was a difficult game in difficult conditions. It was a real old-school game with a chewed-up pitch and mud everywhere, even just five minutes in.

“I knew that it was going to be a boggy pitch before we even went out on the pitch for the warm-up as my foot just sunk into the ground! It was always going to be that type of game.

“But we showed that we can win those types of games, even with a young team out there, which only bodes well for the rest of the year, as we’re likely to be involved in those sorts of games again this year, so it’s important that we know how to win in those scenarios.” 


And you were one of the more experienced players in the side even at 21… 

“That was a strange feeling. I’m probably going to have to take on more responsibility this year and there’s probably going to be more expectation on me this year. But that’s something that I’m looking forward to.”


Do you feel that expectation more having taken the Number 11 shirt?

“It’s a massive honour to take the Number 11 shirt, especially to take it from someone like Clarky, who I learned a lot from last year.

“It’s nice that Hendo has put his trust in me to give me a starting number and it’s about me repaying that and doing him justice.

“I learned tons from Clarky and Krimo last year. When I arrived at the Club, I wasn’t an out-and-out back-rower, I’d played a lot at loose forward previously. But training with Clarky and Krimo, who have had tons of experience there, I learnt lessons that I’ll take with me for the rest of my career. I can’t thank them enough for the help that they gave me last year.” 


Onto Sheffield Eagles this afternoon, how tough a test will they provide the Knights?

“Sheffield are always a tough team and we had some great games against them last year. They’ve made a number of good signings during the off-season and we’re expecting a really physical game. It’s going to be a step up from last week, so we’ve really got to be on it. It’s been nice to have the weekend off to freshen up and we’re looking forward to the challenge.”


You made your Knights debut against Sheffield in the Betfred Challenge Cup. What are your memories of that game?

“It was a pretty crazy debut. We went 20-0 up and then Kirmo got sent off before half-time. It was a pretty mad game and I guess it set the tone for the rest of the season! 

“We showed a lot of grit and a lot of toughness to see out the victory even though we were a man down. Hopefully it’ll be a little bit more plain-sailing this weekend.”


You went on to play in every game after that in 2024, which you can’t have expected?

“Not at all! I was really keen to come here and get some game-time and just play. Initially, I arrived just on a one-month loan but pretty quickly things got sorted to allow me to stay here on a three-year deal. That was definitely something that I wasn’t expecting but I wouldn’t change it for the world. The amount of exposure and gametime I’ve had has really brought me on as a player.”


Finally, how much are looking to the remainder of this season and what this group can hopefully achieve?

“I’m buzzing for the rest of this season and I’m really positive about this year. We’ve made some good signings and really progressed from where we were last year. Hopefully we can continue the strong ending we enjoyed last year into this season and definitely push into that top three spots. I’m sure we’ll have our ups and downs, as we saw last year, but I’m really hopeful that we can give the fans something to cheer about this season.”


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