James Ford’s Knights men capped off a brilliant day at our first Knights Double-Header of 2022 by inflicting a 32-6 defeat on Widnes Vikings in possibly the team’s best performance of the year so far.
With several changes from last weekend’s Challenge Cup defeat at Whitehaven, the Knights resembled a much more familiar line-up and it didn’t take long to trouble the scoreboard operator.
Before the opening score, a seventh minute tip tackle from Warrington loanee Eribe Doro saw the Widnes man sent to the sin-bin for ten minutes and the Knights would make that man advantage count.
After fielding a last-tackle kick in the twelfth minute, the ball was shifted to the left edge early in the set and half-back Brendan O’Hagan was able to race to Widnes’ forty metre line before delivering a looping pass over full-back Jack Owens to find Matty Marsh. The Knights’ number one promptly ran the ball in under the sticks to give Jamie Ellis the easiest of conversions.
The Knights were very much in the ascendency but it would be Widnes who scored next to level the scores through a moment of brilliance from back-rower Adam Lawton. First to a bouncing ball, the forward grubbered in behind, rounded the Knights’ defence and gathered to ground under pressure from Brad Ward. The conversion made it 6-6, but the Knights hit back shortly after.
It was a great try. Running onto the ball at pace, debutant Levi Edwards broke the Widnes defensive line after stepping off his left foot. Darting past full-back Owens, Edwards then offloaded out of the tackle to a supporting O’Hagan who ran the try in from halfway, outstripping the covering run of Widnes’ Matty Fleming. Ellis, again, converted to give the Knights a 12-6 lead.
That lead would be one that the team wouldn’t relinquish.
Just before the half-hour mark, great work from Jordan Thompson in the middle fed Ellis who, in turn, found Will Jubb. The hooker passed to Edwards who, in turn, offloaded back to Jubb. Our number nine then passed left to winger Ward who, acrobatically, scored his second Knights try. Ellis’ conversion attempt drifted wide and would be his last part of proceedings, leaving after picking up a potential hamstring injury.
The Knights’ 16-6 half-time lead gave the team a platform to secure a fourth Betfred Championship victory of the season – something Ford’s men duly did.
Ten minutes into the second forty, O’Hagan and Marsh demonstrated their partnership with the Australian chipping over the Widnes defensive line after seeing there was no full-back present. Marsh raced in behind to gather and score his second of the afternoon and Liam Harris – on for Ellis – converted.
In the 65th minute, any prospect of a Widnes fightback was quelled when forward Marcus Stock was the beneficiary of Jubb’s dummy-half pass. With the number nine shaping to go left, he instead went right and found the forward running a great line before crashing over. Harris converted to extend the lead and the Knights led 28-6.
With eight minutes remaining, Edwards capped off a strong debut with a try after being fed the ball ten yards out. The teenager forced his way over to wrap up the win. Harris’ conversion attempt was unsuccessful but the Knights had long-secured a big win against a fellow Championship play-off contender.
York City Knights: Matty Marsh, Joe Brown, James Glover, Levi Edwards, Brad Ward, Brendan O’Hagan, Jamie Ellis, Masi Matongo, Will Jubb, Pauli Pauli, Chris Clarkson, Daniel Kirkmond, Jordan Thompson.
Interchanges: Liam Harris, Ronan Dixon, Marcus Stock, Jack Teanby.
Tries: Matty Marsh (21′, 52′), Brendan O’Hagan (23′), Brad Ward (29′), Marcus Stock (65′), Levi Edwards (73′)
Goals: Jamie Ellis (2/3), Liam Harris (2/3)
Widnes Vikings: Jack Owens, Ryan Ince, Ste Tyrer, Joe Edge, Matt Fleming, Joe Lyons, Matty Smith, Kenny Baker, Matty Fozard, Eribe Doro, Sam Wilde, Adam Lawton, Aaron Brown.
Interchanges: Liam Bent, Tyler Dupree, Owen Farnworth, Olly Davies.
Tries: Adam Lawton (20′)
Goals: Ste Tyrer (1/1)