York City Knights returned to third in the Betfred Championship as they overcame Sheffield Eagles at the Olympic Legacy Park, coming away 14-34 victors.
James Ford’s side headed into this week’s Championship match looking to get back to winning ways after suffering a 24-40 defeat at the hands of fellow play-off hopefuls Halifax at the LNER Community Stadium last week.
A second-half brace from Marcus Stock as well as tries from James Glover, Bailey Antrobus, Pauli Pauli and Ronan Dixon saw the Knights pick up the two league points on offer.
It was the Eagles who opened the scoring in the 8th minute with halfback Anthony Thackeray putting in a hanging kick to the corner which was patted down by former Knight Ben Jones-Bishop. That ball fell to the hands of the waiting Kris Welham who touched down to put the hosts in the lead. Izaac Farrell’s kick was unsuccessful and the hosts led 4-0.
The Knights hit back in the 18th minute when Glover received a perfect offload before driving through the Eagles’ defence and to make it 4-4 with Liam Harris kicking the conversion to give the Knights a two point lead.
Antrobus scored his first try for York City Knights at the 27-minute mark after making a solo run through the left-hand edge of the Sheffield defence fending off an Eagles fullback QLT to touch down and make it 4-10. Harris converted to make it 4-12.
The first half continued to be a seesaw affair with the Eagles hitting back in the 35th minute thanks to a well-played dummy from half-back Thackeray which saw the veteran power over from short range.
Jones-Bishop scored the Eagles’ third try of the half on the stroke of half-time after a line break from Thackeray put the Eagles in good field position. The ball was then worked wide quickly on the next play to Jones-Bishop who touched down to make it 12-12 with Farrell converting to make it 14-12.
Behind at the break, the Knights clicked into gear in the second forty, taking the lead in the 53rd minute with Dixon latching on to a Pauli offload to make it 14-16 with Harris’ conversion being missed.
Pauli then went from provider to try-scorer just before the hour after working alongside Jordan Thompson to drive the ball forward. Harris’ pinpoint kick to the in-goal saw Pauli touch down for his first Knights try. Harris’ conversion put the Knights into a 14-22 lead.
The momentum stayed with the Knights and Stock, on his hundredth career appearance, latched onto an offload to crash over in the 60th minute for his first of back-to-back tries as the Knights increased their lead to 14-26. Harris converts 14-28.
Stock made the most of another repeat set as the Knights continued their sustained pressure on the Eagles defensive line, with Harris controlling the ball well before feeding it to Stock who crashed over from short range in the 68th minute to make it 14-32. Harris’ conversion made it 14-34.
Both defences remained strong for the closing five minutes as the Knights picked up their tenth win of the season and move to third in the Betfred Championship season.
SHEFFIELD EAGLES LINE UP: Quentin Laulu-Togaga’e, Ben Jones-Bishop, Kris Welham, Josh Guzdek, Jason Bass, Izaac Farrell, Anthony Thackeray, Brandon Douglas, Tom Holmes, Tyler Dickinson, Connor Bower, Evan Hodgson, Yusuf Aydin
INTERCHANGES: Ross Oakes, Blake Broadbent, Liam Kirk, Isaac Shaw
TRIES: Kris Welham (10) Anthony Thackeray (34) Ben Jones-Bishop (39)
GOALS: Izaac Farrell 1/3
SIN-BIN: Yusuf Aydin (34)
YORK CITY KNIGHTS LINE UP: Myles Harrison, Joe Brown, James Glover, Bailey Antrobus, AJ Towse, Liam Harris, Matty Marsh, Masi Matongo, Will Jubb, Pauli Pauli, Danny Kirmond, Chris Clarkson, Jordan Thompson
INTERCHANGES: Jack Teanby, Ronan Dixon, Marcus Stock, Joe Porter
TRIES: James Glover (18), Bailey Antrobus (27), Ronan Dixon (53), Pauli Pauli (57) Marcus Stock (60, 68)
GOALS: Liam Harris 5/6
SIN-BIN: Ronan Dixon (34)