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Newcastle Thunder 10-114 York Knights - Match Report

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York Knights kicked off their 2024 season with a record-breaking 114-10 rout of Newcastle Thunder in the AB Sundecks 1895 Cup.

York ran in 21 tries at Kingston Park, with debutant Connor Bailey scoring four tries, off-season recruit Will Dagger bagging a hat-trick while AJ Towse also finished with a personal treble.

Joe Brown, Jordan Thompson and Jesse Dee all finished with braces while Oli Field, Conor Fitzsimmons and Liam Harris were on the scoresheet alongside new signing Nikau Williams and Harvey Reynolds.

The thrashing will provide the Knights with plenty of confidence ahead of next Sunday’s clash with last year’s relegated Betfred Super League side Wakefield Trinity at the LNER Community Stadium (3pm), with victory confirming a place in the AB Sundecks 1895 Cup Quarter-Finals.

Betfred League One’s Newcastle, who have fielded an inexperienced side amid significant off-field challenges during the off-season, grabbed the afternoon’s first try as Daniel White latched onto a short ball to the left of the sticks, with Tyler Hepple converting.

The Knights responded with three tries in the space of eight minutes, with Dagger grounding Williams’ back-of-the-hand pass, Bailey and Brown combining for the former to score and Brown finishing off some delightful Dagger footwork.

Dagger, who finished with eight goals from 11 attempts, converted all three tries. 

The floodgates soon opened as Brown leapt in at the right corner after a sweeping left-to-right move, Thompson barged over from Will Jubb’s drop-off pass and Williams walked in after a Harris break.

Two more tries arrived before half-time as Field somehow touched down a Williams pass close to the line and the supporting Dagger went over as Field broke the Newcastle line, leaving the visitors 46-6 in front.

Just five second-half minutes were needed for more points to be added, with Dee going over from Harris’ short pass before barging in at the right corner again moments later.

Dagger’s cut-out pass put Towse in down the left edge before the assister wrapped up his hat-trick in sublime fashion; skipping past a couple of defenders, briefly stopping before cutting through a gap in the Thunder line.

Liam Harris took over the kicking duties and added the conversion, the first of two from four efforts.

Bailey put Towse in again down the left and then the back-rower profited from a Williams short pass.

Interchange Reynolds then marked his professional debut with a try after an hour, racing away after Harris ghosted through the line. Williams took the kicking tee and converted his first of five goals from six attempts.

A hat-trick try from Bailey followed as he reached out a hand to the line and from the short restart, Thompson punted the ball ahead before latching onto the loose ball to score.

Prop Fitzsimmons got in on the act when he ran in from Dee’s break as the century mark neared.

Towse took York to three figures when skipping clear from halfway after getting past three Thunder defenders on halfway.

Bailey then claimed a fourth after a Field break and Harris wrapped up York’s try-scoring rout after interchanging passes with Dee.

To their credit, Thunder would score the contest’s final try as James Snowden found the whitewash by the left corner-flag in the final minute.

Newcastle: J. Bradley, L. Bradley, Birch, White, Snowden, Hepple, Mallinson, Lowery, Bate, Harlow-Stephenson, Burns, Rushworth, Newbound

Subs (all used): Siddle, Skelton, Gibson, Ryan

18th Player: Rennison

Tries: White (3’), Snowden (80’)

Goals: Hepple (1/2)

York: Dagger, Brown, Dee, Keinhorst, Towse, Williams, Thompson, Jubb, Fitzsimmons, Field, Bailey, Cunningham

Subs (all used): Teanby, Santi, Hingano, Reynolds

18th Player: Harrison

Tries: Dagger (10’, 40’, 57’), Bailey (13’, 62’, 69’, 78’), Brown (18’, 23’), Thompson (26’, 71’), Williams (28’), Field (38’), Dee (45’, 51’), Towse (54’, 60’, 76’), Reynolds (65’), Fitzsimmons (74’), Harris (80’)

Goals: Dagger (8/11), Harris (2/4), Williams (5/6)


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