After BBC Radio York’s Andy Atkinson kicked us off with the first of our journalist’s all-time Knights XIII, his colleague Sharon Shortle is next to take up the mantle…
Full Back: Tough choice here. Matt Blaymire was also in consideration, but Marsh gets the nod because of the consistency in a higher division. Blaymire was a great full back and went have a good Super League career but, in a Knights shirt, I’m going for Matty Marsh.
Selection: Matty Marsh
Right Wing: “He blurs our eyes, he scores some tries. Fox on the run.” His combination with Dan Potter in that 2005 Championship winning side is so memorable. Enough said.
Selection: Peter Fox
Right Centre: It felt like Greg Minikin needed wrapping in cotton wool to keep him fit when he was at York, but he clearly had quality that he’s gone on to fulfil. Loved watching the lines he ran in the centres.
Selection: Greg Minikin
Left Centre: There were a couple of candidates for the second centre spot. One, I’ve squeezed in elsewhere. But for me, Liam Salter is quality. Hardly makes a mistake and just gets on with it.
Selection: Liam Salter
Left Wing: I know he didn’t play much on the wing for York, and I also considered the likes of Austin Buchanan here, but how can you pick a side without Ben Cockayne in it? Loved watching him play… a good old head by the time he was with the Knights, and one not to be messed with! Every team should have one like him.
Selection: Ben Cockayne
Half Backs: Again, some tough choices here. Danny Brough was a tough act to follow, even so early on in his career. He knew how to get points on the board and troubled the opposition with his kicking game.
Connor gets in because he’s such a leader at times for the Knights, and again has proven he can do it at Championship level consistently. He’s grown as a player for me in his time at York. Honourable mention for Chris Thorman, who I don’t think we saw enough of the best of for various reasons.
Selections: Danny Brough and Connor Robinson
Prop: Again, another old head every side could benefit from. Experienced, and still a quality player at the back end of a great career. Easy choice.
Selection: Graeme Horne
Hooker: I think we’ve been pretty blessed over the years with some good hookers, Jack Lee and Kriss Brining to name a couple. But Lee Jackson was the master for me. He took a bit of a chance signing for a newly formed Knights, and he gave it all like he always had at higher levels. A privilege to watch him in a York shirt.
Selection: Lee Jackson
Prop: Tough shirt to fill this one. Jack Aldous also in there, and a few others including some of the recent and current groups. But I’ve gone for Rich Hayes. You always knew what you were going to get with him. Hard worker, good player. And wasn’t it him that was dragged out of retirement by Richard Agar to play that legendary Challenge Cup game at Featherstone to make up the numbers in an injury crisis?
Selection: Rich Hayes
Second Row: Another young player who shone in that promotion winning side in 2018. Hope he gets that break though in Super League. If not, can he come back to York please?
Selection: Joe Batchelor
Second Row: This man gets the nod here over Ed Smith, who looked like he’d go on to bigger things when he was at his best at York, and also Sam Scott. Ryan Esders in full flow was frightening and he didn’t look like he’d take a backwards step. And I’ll never forget him and Ian Bell combining in that play off game at Oldham in 2010. I bet the Oldham defence still has nightmares.
Selection: Ryan Esders
Loose Forward: Again, honourable mention here for David March, who had a great rugby brain. But Tim has led the current team with so much credit since 2017, both on and off the field, and his experience has helped edge them over the line, particularly in all those close games in 2019. He’s also captain of this 13!
Selection: Tim Spears
Head Coach: There have been some good coaches over the years that have led the Knights to promotion but there’s only one choice here. What the team has achieved under James Ford’s tenure, and in some tough circumstances early on, means this was the easiest choice of the lot. And the style of play also gets an extra vote here from me too.
Selection: James Ford
Sharon Shortle’s All-Time Knights Team:
1. Matty Marsh, 2. Peter Fox, 3. Greg Minikin, 4. Liam Salter, 5. Ben Cockayne, 6. Danny Brough, 7. Connor Robinson, 8. Graeme Horne, 9. Lee Jackson, 10. Richie Hayes, 11. Joe Batchelor, 12. Ryan Esders, 13 Tim Spears (c)
Head Coach: James Ford