The Knights fell to defeat on Heritage Day with Barrow Raiders getting revenge for May’s home loss to the Knights in the form of a 16-24 win at the LNER Community Stadium.
With a number of former players in attendance, the occasion promised more but a spirited showing from the visitors, coupled with an under-par York performance, saw a Jarrod Sammut-inspired Barrow hit the Knights with their first defeat in five.
Prop forward Ronan Michael came into the matchday squad in the only change from last weekend’s win at Whitehaven with Marcus Stock the man to drop out.
Barrow were the first team on the scoresheet just before the ten minute mark when, from halfway, mercurial half-back Sammut grubbered for himself. Gathering around thirty out, the Maltese international rounded full-back Matty Marsh and managed to evade Jamie Ellis’ covering tackle to open the scoring. Winger Ryan Shaw began his flawless afternoon from the tee to give the Raiders a 6-0 lead.
It didn’t take long for the Knights to hit back and good work from Liam Harris – making his hundredth career appearance – looped a pass out to winger Joe Brown. After cutting inside the defence after seeing his angle to the corner narrowing, he excellently grounded under pressure and Ellis’ first conversion levelled up proceedings.
A half that saw neither team get into a groove of any sort and it was Barrow who would go into the break ahead after Shaw’s first try of two. The ball was worked from left to right and centre Gary Wheeler was able to evade the attention of opposite number Levi Edwards to get a pass away to Shaw who finished well in the corner. His conversion gave the visitors a 12-6 lead at the interval with the Knights perhaps guilty of not capitalising on pressure or field position.
Half-back Brendan O’Hagan appeared for the duration of the second forty but was unable to make his class tell and it was the Raiders who scored the first points of the second period to further widen the gap, Shaw proving elusive to find the corner. An excellent conversion attempt followed to give the Knights plenty to do in the final quarter.
Two tries from the Knights duly followed to present what could have been a grandstand finish.
First, Pauli Pauli – after bizarrely seeing his boot come apart in the first period – capitalised on a close range pass to power over from ten out with Ellis converting.
Then, with five minutes remaining, centre James Glover scored one of the more bizarre tries you’ll see. Harris’ last tackle kick was too deep and all winger Tee Ritson had to do was gather to give his side a twenty-metre restart. He, however, coughed up possession and Glover was first to the loose ball to narrow the gap to just two. Harris, though, was unable to convert.
Nevertheless, a two-point gap with five minutes remaining is far from insurmountable and, after Gary Wheeler knocked on at the Knights’ line with a game-clinching try looking almost certain, Edwards almost made Barrow pay in the most spectacular of fashion.
He, however, was barrelled into touch by Barrow’s covering defence and the Knights instead saw Sammut seal the match in the 79th minute after cutting through our defensive line in the left channel. Shaw completed his 100% afternoon with the boot from bang in front as the hooter sounded and the Knights could do no more.
York City Knights Line-Up: Matty Marsh, Joe Brown, James Glover, Levi Edwards, Will Oakes, Liam Harris, Jamie Ellis, Masi Matongo, Will Jubb, Pauli Pauli, Bailey Antrobus, Chris Clarkson, Jordan Thompson.
Interchanges: Brendan O’Hagan, Ronan Dixon, Ronan Michael, Jack Teanby
Tries: Brown (15’), Pauli (65’), Glover (75’)
Conversions: Ellis (2/2), Harris (0/1)
Barrow Raiders Line-Up: Luke Cresswell, Tee Ritson, Hakim Miloudi, Gary Wheeler, Ryan Shaw, Jarrod Sammut, Jake Carter, Carl Forster, Josh Wood, Anton Iaria, Sam Hopkins, Jarrad Stack, Ellis Gillam.
Interchanges: Nathan Mossop, Sam Brooks, Dan Toal, Mathieu Cozza
Tries: Sammut (9’, 79’), Shaw (22’, 56’)
Conversions: Shaw (4/4
Geoff Pryce Man of the Match: Jordan Thompson – Assetiam Business Support Services