York City Knights took to the field having lost in their previous two outings against Bradford and Halifax. Last weeks display by the players own admission was not the standard of rugby league York expected and if the Knights were to make the play offs, vast improvement would be required. Batley are a hard-working outfit who can be extremely difficult to break down. York would have to find an extra gear and compete in the arm wrestle if they were to come away with the spoils.
York Knights started off very brightly having put in a solid first set, York broke free with Jamie Elllis who offloaded to Jones Bishop. With one man left to beat Bishop passed to Marsh but the pass was judged to be forward. With three minutes on the clock York were showing early desire. York would have to soak up Batley pressure for the following three sets and managed to hold out by stopping Ben Kaye on the line. York had said they had aimed to get involved in the arm wrestle and limit the mistakes, York had a great first ten minutes defensively and the scores were at 0.0. York were starting to attack and on 13 minutes won a penalty 5 metres out.
York opted not to kick for the goal, the following set brought about an attack, Ellis was looking in fine form but could not find Jones Bishop and the ball went out of play, York did however look in a lot better shape and were passing freely which was really encouraging. York however were undone whilst on the attack, Ellis opted to kick early but the ball found the hands of Luke Hooley who burst through the line to score and the Bulldogs scored, the score was 6:0 with 20 minutes left of the half.
The game was being played at break neck speed and the first 25 minutes had flown by. Both teams looked solid in defence and York would need something special. They had broken through the line with Jones Bishop and Marcus Stock but both efforts had fallen just short. The score remained 6:0. With 29 minutes on the clock the Knights fell further behind after Batley were awarded a dubious penalty for offside.
They kicked to 20 metres and from the following set Jodie Braughton scored. The Kick was unsuccessful and the Knights trailed by ten points, it was frustrating as the Knights had played so well but just could not find the whitewash. York continued to push and came close to the line 2 minutes before the half, the ball found its way to Atkins who tumbled. York won the ball back and came at Batley again but somehow they kept York out.
The half time hooter sounded and the score was Batley 10 York 0. It was hard to understand how York had not been rewarded for there effort, it would take a turn in fortune for the Knights but they still had a chance if they continued to work hard and run Batley down. York came out fighting in the second half, but Batley were matching York’s enthusiasm.
The first 10 minutes were deadlock as Batley appeared to have the upper hand and York were winning the ball back and attacking from deep within their half. York worked the Batley line and won a repeat set 12 minutes into the second half and York finally got their reward. A Jason Bass drive followed by an innovative piece of play from Marsh put Bishop in at the far corner. Dixon had a hard kick to follow but took it superbly well. The score was now 10:6 and it was game on.
With 16 minutes on the clock in the second half York were in again another amazing play from Matty Marsh bounced kindly for Kiran Dixon and York were level. Dixson converted and suddenly York lead the match. Kiren Dixon was on the score sheet just 90 seconds later with another stunning try. York were moving the ball with confidence and working the Bulldogs hard. The score was now 18:10 and York were 8 points to the good. Batley Bulldogs would respond and one minute later broke the line with Lucas Walshaw, Marsh tackled really well but York gave a penalty away on the following tackle, a professional foul by Jones Bishop had seen him sent to the bin for ten minutes.
This proved costly and Jodie Broughton made the overlap count to touch down. The kick was converted, and two points was now the gap, the Knights 18 Batley 16. You could cut the tension with a knife and both sides were looking dangerous. York won a penalty with 11 minutes left, Batley caught offside. Dixon opted to kick and try and increase the gap to 4 points.
The ball swerved and swirled in the air, hit the post and went in, York were in front 20 points to 16. This would be a tough last ten minutes. With 8 minutes left Batley broke the York line and looked certain to score Batley however were adjudged to have passed the ball forward and the Knights had survived a scare. York came close themselves as two minutes later a break from Matty Marsh left York 2 metres from the line, Jack Teanby dropped the ball on the line and Batley survived.
On the opposing set Batley would go up the other end and score a nice piece of play finished eventually by Luke Hooley. This was converted and Batley lead 22:20. With four minutes to play it appeared to be heartbreak for York, they pushed and gave everything but it wasn’t enough. Batley won the game, it felt unjust but that’s rugby league sometimes and next week York go again.