STEVE KILMARTIN Bootham Crescent, Sunday July 30, 2017
WOLFPACK LOSE 100 PERCENT RECORD
YORK became the first team to beat Toronto in a league match – and the players’ euphoria at the final hooter rewarded the tenacity and determination which thrilled a 2,602 crowd – the club’s highest of the season.
The intensity of the early play demonstrated the importance which had been attached to this game, as the Wolfpack sought a 16th win in the Super 8s opener.
Toronto appeared anxious to also show their physical prowess in an attempt to perhaps drain the Knights’ energy, but this was a toe-to-toe encounter with no ground willingly surrendered.
York drew first blood after 13 minutes as Ash Robson collected a loose ball, drew the defender and gathered pace for on-loan Hull centre Jake Butler-Fleming to stride through and touch down. Connor Robinson added the conversion.
While the Wolfpack are not used to being behind on the scoreboard, this was not noticeable as Ryan Brierley directed traffic, with one pass putting James Laithwaite over, only to be adjudged forward.
Sometimes confidence and slick passing can prove to be a downfall, and as Quentin Laulu-Togaga’e failed to gather a line ball after 19 minutes, Liam Harris was quickest to react. He scorched over the line, with Robinson adding the goal and Brierley shown a yellow card for his protestations.
The Knights stuck to the task, driving forward with invention and keeping the ball alive despite Toronto having intensity without a cutting edge (although Jack Bussey was held on his back when over the line).
Will Jubb looked to have increased the lead, only to be penalised for a double movement, but this was merely a prelude to what proved to be the try of the game just before half-time.
Gamestar Harris was sublime after gathering the ball 30 metres out. Nothing was immediately apparent, but the youngster produced two superlative dummies to go in under the posts for Robinson to tag on two further points for an 18-0 lead.
Within five minutes of the resumption, Toronto had clawed back 12 points as Brierley and Bob Beswick finished off as York produced little resistance, and Craig Hall kicked two conversions.
Knights captain Tim Spears returned to the action and performed a heroic job in rejuvenating his side.
Joe Batchelor was prevented from scoring by frantic defending, but after 57 minutes, Robinson kicked a relieving penalty after Bussey took out Robson (he was placed on report).
The Wolfpack upped their pace and intensity, with Hall scoring after 59 minutes, but Bussey was sin binned on 65 for his tackle on Zeus Silk.
Joe Porter was held inches from the Toronto line before Harris forced a one-handed pass out of the tackle for Robinson to dive under the posts and convert to create a 10-point advantage.
GAME BREAKER: A quality first-half try by Liam Harris gave York the impetus, and it was the youngster’s one-handed pass that created the final try.
GAMESTAR: Young stand-off Harris was the architect of victory, building on an intelligent game plan devised by coach James Ford.
YORK CITY KNIGHTS
1 Ash Robson
3 Nev Morrison
17 Brad Hey
35 Jake Butler-Fleming
2 David Foggin-Johnston
31 Liam Harris
34 Connor Robinson
16 Ronan Dixon
29 Will Jubb
28 Keiran Moran
30 Zeus Silk
11 Joe Batchelor
13 Tim Spears
Subs (all used)
20 Adam Robinson
10 Chris Siddons
19 James Haynes (not used)
25 Joe Porter
Tries: Butler-Fleming (13), Harris (19, 40), C Robinson (71)
Goals: C Robinson 5/5
1 Quentin Laulu-Togaga’e
2 Jonny Pownall
3 Greg Worthington
4 Craig Hall
5 Liam Kay
6 Blake Wallace
27 Ryan Brierley
29 Jacob Emmitt
9 Bob Beswick
21 Adam Sidlow
17 Richard Whiting
12 James Laithwaite
13 Jack Bussey
Subs (all used)
7 Rhys Jack (not used)
8 Fuifui Moimoi
19 Steve Crossley
16 Shaun Pick
Tries: Brierley (41), Beswick (45), Hall (59)
Goals: Hall 2/3
Sin Bin: Brierley (21) – dissent, Bussey (62) – dangerous tackle.
On Report: Bussey (57) – tackle on Robson.
Rugby Leaguer & League Express Men of the Match
York City Knights: Liam Harris
Toronto Wolfpack: Craig Hall
Penalty count: 8-5
Referee: Tom Grant
SCORING SEQUENCE: 6-0, 12-0, 18-0; 18-6, 18-12, 20-12, 20-16, 26-16