Knights slay the Lions in epic Challenge Cup victory – match report and pix

Knights battle their way to a big challenge cup victory in the snow. Photograph: Craig Hawkhead
19 Mar 2018 @ 5.34 pm
| Sport
York City Knights26
Tries: Mazive (4, 76) Cockayne (10)
Spears (24)
Penalties: Robinson (26, 73)
Conversions: Robinson (3/4)
Swinton Lions12
Tyson (36); Lloyd (62)
Penalties: Hankinson (40)
Conversions: Hankinson (1/2)
Sun Mar 18th 2018
LD Nutrition Stadium

York City Knights are through to the fifth round of the Challange Cup after sweeping aside Championship strugglers Swinton Lions on Sunday (March 18).

York were forced to switch venues for the fourth-round tie, after the Bootham Crescent playing surface was deemed unplayable thanks to the adverse weather conditions last weekend.

In a snow-covered LD Nutrition Stadium, home of Featherstone Rovers, the Knights produced another classy display to go marching onto the fifth round for the second time in two seasons.

A rampant start

Mazive scoring his first try and causing havoc on the Knights wing. Photograph: Craig Hawkhead

From the kick off, the Knights meant business and seemingly had the tie wrapped up by half time.

After scoring a try in the previous round in the 64-6 whitewash against Askam, Judah Mazive came back in the Knights line-up to produce another impressive attacking display.

Just six minutes had gone when the tricky winger spectacularly dived over down the right edge after the ball was played out to him from a penalty. Connor Robinson added the extras with the conversion, and the Knights had a 6-0 lead.

The Lions were stunned, and were pegged back even further just four minutes later. Connor Robinson’s well-placed kick towards the posts was fumbled by Gabe Fell and the anticipating Ben Cockayne was on hand to score.

Robinson converted once more and the Knights lead 12-0 after just ten minutes on the clock.

Mind the gap

Former Hull KR legend Ben Cockayne crashes over for 10-0. Photograph: Craig Hawkhead

York huffed and puffed for a third try soon after that, keeping the ball well and truly in the Swinton half. Alas, they broke through again on 24 minutes.

Prop Chris Siddons found club captain Tim Spears with a well-timed pass close the try line, and the second rower powered over to increase the Knights advantage further.

Robinson kicked his hat-trick conversion, and took the lead up to 20-0 before the half-hour. The chief kicker scored a 35-metre penalty after an offside situation, and the Knights looked out of sight with an 20-0 lead.

Greater Manchester side Swinton didn’t really threaten up until seven minutes before half time, when they did eventually hit back at the Knights.

Judah Mazive knocked on deep inside the Knights half, and from the penalty George Tyson fought off tacklers to crash over for the Lions. Chris Hankinson converted, and the ‘visitors’ had some hope.

Swinton were then awarded a penalty under the posts right on the half time hooter, and Hankinson kicked over to reduce the Knights lead to 20-8 at the break.


Knights Captain Tim Spears leads an offensive charge. Photograph: Craig Hawkhead

The second half was different to the first, as the game turned into one big muddy scrap for territory. Swinton had the best of the possession, but the Knights stood strong up until the half hour mark.

At that point, the Lions broke through once more when Rhodri Lloyd finished a breakaway moved lead by Jack Hansen in the right edge. The conversion was missed though, meaning the Knights kept their vital two score lead.

The Swinton tails were well and truly up and the Knights were under intense pressure defending their lead, but every lions attack was met with stern Knights resistance.

The Lions started to become increasingly frustrated as the Knights shields could not be breached, and with eight minutes left, they were finished off.

The end game

Mazive celebrates scoring his second and the Knights fourth try of the game. Photograph: Craig Hawkhead

The Knights took full advantage of a Swinton forward pass through Connor Robinson, who kicked the resulting penalty to edge the Knights into a crucial 10-point lead.

York were not done yet though and neither was Judah Mazive.

With the Lions tamed and the game nearly at its end, the Knights added gloss to the score line when Judah Mazive raced onto a Cockayne grubber to score his second and York’s fourth try of the day.

Swinton forward Andy Bracek was sin-binned soon after for an altercation fuelled by his clear frustration with the score line and Connor Robinson missed the conversion, but that didn’t affect the final score one iota.

The full time hooter was met with cheery delight in the Knights camp, who will enter the draw for the fifth round of the Challenge Cup, taking place at 7pm on BBC Sport tomorrow night (March 20).