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Report: Knights 42-13 Newcastle

The Knights kicked off their journey towards playing at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium with a rampant 42-13 win over the Newcastle Thunder in the fourth round of the Betfred Challenge Cup at the LNER Community Stadium.

Having reached the final of the AB Sundecks 1895 Cup last season at Wembley Stadium, a possible journey back to the capital, this time to the home of Premier League side Tottenham Hotspur, was on the cards as the Thunder from the North East arrived in Yorkshire.

Compared to recent weeks the playing conditions in North Yorkshire were perfect for an entertaining fixture between the two Championship clubs.

A total of seven tries from the Knights courtesy of a Matty Marsh brace along with scores from Ronan Dixon, Liam Harris, and Jamie Ellis, and debutant Brad Ward saw James Ford’s side run riot.

It took just three minutes for the first try of the game to come, but it was the visitors who hit the front early on.

The ball found its way to fullback Craig Mullen who dived over the try line after a powerful solo effort which saw the former Wigan Warrior give the visitors a 4-0 lead with just three minutes on the clock. Half-back Jake Shorrocks added his first of two conversions to extend the lead, but it didn’t take long for the Knights to respond after a kick from halfback Jamie Ellis gave York a repeat set of six.

This led to his half-back partner Liam Harris putting in a pinpoint grubber kick which found Ellis, the former Leigh man touching down to make it 4-6 with Ellis converting to tie the game in the 8th minute of the game.

Newcastle soon took the lead back and, on the 14-minute mark, Mullen produced another special moment as he danced his way past the hosts’ defensive line to touch down and give the visitors a 6-12 lead once Shorrocks converted.

James Ford turned to his interchange bench and it made an immediate impact with Ronan Dixon being in the right place at the right time as Matty Marsh drew in the defence before passing to his right with Dixon waiting to pounce for his first try of the season. Ellis converted to tie up scores, and the Knights made it back-to-back tries to take the lead for the first time.

Fullback Marsh went from try provider to try scorer in the 27th minute when Jack Teanby created space and offloaded perfectly to the waiting Marsh who grabbed the ball and finished the move to extend the Knights’ lead.

Liam Harris got himself on the scoresheet on the 37th minute when he was gifted a try following a handling mistake from the Thunder, the half-back putting on the afterburners as he raced from halfway with no one close to catching him. Ellis converted the try to make it 24-12.

A drop-goal from Josh Woods on the stroke of the half-time hooter saw the Thunder make the score 24-13 as the two sides headed into the sheds at the end of an entertaining first half.

A horror injury in the 42nd minute saw a lengthy break in play as Jay Chapelhow received treatment for a serious leg injury. The prop was taken to hospital and, shortly after play resumed, Ford’s Knights began to put Thunder to the sword.

Daylight was created between the two sides when Liam Harris excellently ran laterally before a burst of pace saw the pivot into space, passing to Marcus Stock for his first of 2022. Ellis converted to make it 30-13 just before the fiftieth minute and, with both sides the exchanging sets, an excellent piece of play from the impressive Jordan Thompson put the nail in Newcastle’s coffin.

Loose-forward Thompson ran an excellent line behind the ruck, punching through Thunder’s defensive line. With Harris and Marsh streaming through in support, the former Castleford and Leigh forward drew in full-back Mullen before passing inside to give Marsh his second of the afternoon in the 67th minute.

Ellis kicked the sixth goal of seven on what was a flawless afternoon with the kicking tee for our number seven, and he would knock over the seventh with his toughest effort of the afternoon thanks to a memorable Brad Ward try.

18-year-old debutant Ward – the fourth Excel product in the Knights first-team squad – was impressive throughout and, when the ball was worked from left to right, James Glover – another strong performer on the day – fed Ward around ten metres out. With the angles quickly narrowing, Ward acrobatically dived over in the corner James Ford’s side booked their place in the fifth round of the Challenge Cup.

Up next for the Knights is a trip to the Capital as they take on the London Broncos at the Cherry Red Records Stadium with Adults tickets priced at £20, concessions £15, and under 16’s attending for £2. Fans can purchase tickets at or by calling 02033686455.

KNIGHTS: Matty Marsh, Brad Ward, James Glover, Jacob Ogden, AJ Towse, Liam Harris, Jamie Ellis, Masi Matongo, Will Jubb, Ronan Michael, Toby Warren, Danny Kirmond, Jordan Thompson.

INTERCHANGES: Kriss Brining, Jack Teanby, Ronan Dixon, Marcus Stock

TRIES: Ellis (10) Dixon (24) Marsh (27,67) Harris (37) Stock (47) Ward (78)

GOALS: Ellis (7/7)

THUNDER: Craig Mullen, Gideon Boafo, Isaac Nokes, Alexander Sutton, Alexander Donaghy, Jake Shorrocks, Joshua Woods, Patrick Moran, Joshua Eaves, Edward Chapelhow, Matthew Nicholson, Bradley Gallagher, Samuel Hallas.

INTERCHANGES: Connor Bailey, James Chapelhow, Lewis Peachey, Nathan Wilde.

TRIES: Mullen (3,15)

GOALS: Shorrocks 2/2

DROP GOAL: Woods (40)




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