York City Knights vs Swinton Lions – Rob Leatham reports

The scene was set for a Sunday lunchtime kick off as Swinton and York took to the field in the blazing afternoon sunshine.

York City Knights welcomed their captain Chris Clarkson back into the squad as well as seeing Jordan Baldwinson return. There was also a debutant in the squad, with Connor Wynn from Hull FC starting at full back. York Knights coach James Ford spoke of his optimism ahead of the game and stated that it was good to see players return to add some shape to the middle of the pack and it was a relief welcoming several players back to the squad after having 13 fit first team players in the week before.

It was a bright start for the Knights and after three minutes York broke through the Swinton line and on the last tackle the ball was played out wide for Kiran Dixon to make it 4-0. Minutes later York was in again with Matty Marsh ducking and diving before offloading the ball to Ronan Dixon. This along with Kiron Dixon adding the extras made the score 10-0.

York continued to impress by completing set after set and 10 minutes later Matty Marsh produced more trickery and managed his 1st try of the day. The score was now 16:0. York Knights were the gift that kept on giving and on the 20-minute mark Ronan Dixon crashed over the line again bringing the Knights lead to 22:0. The first quarter had been a faultless display and the knights were hungry for more points.

They would break the line again at 27 minutes with Connor Wynn showing immense class to break through on the halfway line ducking and diving before tapping the ball down under the posts to make the score 28:0. It would not be long before York was in again and on 31 minutes Matty Marsh went over the line for his second try. Swinton looked completely bewildered as York lead 34:0 with seven minutes to go until the half.

Swinton came close towards the end of the half, Doyle ducking and weaving before being tackled by Ben Jones Bishop. The half time hooter sounded and York could be proud of their display. Many pundits predicted that super league was on the cards for the knights this season and this is the kind of display that would be required.

Second half

As the second half kicked off York appeared to come out a little too relaxed and would be punished by Swinton. Right from the opening set Roberts broke free of the knight’s defence and scored after just one minute of play. This was converted and the score was now 34:6. The knights responded three minutes later when a spinning kick five metres from the line was pounced on by Ryly Dean, giving him his first try of the season. This was again converted from Dixon who was finding form with his kicking boot making it 40:6.

The game had opened up in the second half with Swinton promoting the ball and making more yards. Against the runoff play York Knights showed a lot of quality on 49 minutes as Jordan Baldwinson broke through the line with a sharp run off. He loaded Marsh who could then not be stopped as he crossed the line for a hat trick in what was the most memorable try of the afternoon.

From the restart Swinton kicked short but were unlucky with their effort and knocked the ball forward. York then drove at the Swinton line with a player being upended in the process. This dangerous challenge meant Will Hope was sent to the sin bin.

Following this Dean placed a neat grubber kick into the path of Ryan Atkins who crossed the white wash for another well worked York try. This brought the points with the conversion to 52:6.

Swinton were in trouble again after the restart as Gregson was sent to the bin for an off the ball challenge on Matty Marsh. Riley Dean skipped over in the following set with dancing feet that would be worthy of a ten from Len.

Swinton responded well to being down on numbers and drove hard at the Knights line. York appeared to be tyring and eventually the Swinton pressure would pay off as Mike Butt scored his fourth try from six games for the Lions. The knights would then have a lapse in concentration from the restart as Brown broke free from the halfway line and touched down in the centre of the posts making the scores 58:16.

The Knights were subject to more pressure from Swinton in the final minutes of the game. Just before the hooter the Knights recovered the ball in their own half. Kiran Dixon showed pace and dashed 60 metres up the field before being stopped. From the next play Matty Marsh made a dash for the line after being shown the ball by Washbrook. The final score was York- 64, Swinton- 16.

Overall, it had been a pleasing performance from the Knights who had shown class and determination to get a well-earned win. Swinton did however show spirit to hit back at the knights in the second half. York will look to build momentum as they face Dewsbury rams at the Tetley’s stadium in the next game. The Knights will need to display the same determination again as the Rams have been in fine form lately.

By Rob Leatham.