York City Knights battle hard but lose out to Hull KR in full-on friendly

8 Jan 2018 @ 9.01 pm
| Sport
Hull KR28
Salter (6) Mulhern (19)
Masoe (29) Addy (32, 63)
Shaw (20, 31, 34) Atkin (64)
York City Knights6
Carter (78)
Cockayne (79)
Sun Jan 7th 2018
KCOM Craven Park

York City Knights put up a good fight, but were outclassed by Hull Kingston Rovers in Ben Cockayne’s tesimonial match.

The Knights suffered a 28-6 defeat to the Super League giants in York’s second pre-season friendly of the winter.

Rovers came into the match with a strong starting line-up, so the result came as no surprise.

However, Knights head coach James Ford said that his side can take plenty of positives out of the game, after matching a ‘pretty good Super League team with an excellent coach’ for large spells of the game.

Ford gave debut’s to Cockayne and another former Hull KR man Graeme Horne on Sunday.

There were also a number of trialists in Ford’s squad looking to impress the head coach, including former Featherstone utility man, Tom Saxton, who was the only trialist to start the game.

The Knights were 22-0 down at half-time, but were evens with Rovers after putting up a spirited second half performance to hold the Hull side from running away with the game.

A game of two halves

Knights put up a valiant effort in defeat to Hull. Photograph © Hull KR Photography

Hull took the lead on eight minutes when the ball found its way out to the right edge on the last tackle and Liam Salter crossed the line to score for Rovers.

Ryan Shaw missed the conversion, but Hull doubled their lead 9 minutes later when the Knights conceded a penalty close to the try line, and Robbie Mulhern pummeled his way through to score.

Shaw made no mistake this time and converted to make it 10-0.

It went from bad to worse for the Knights, when the towering 19 stone Mose Masoe crashed over to score from a central position.

That was the prop’s first try for Rovers on his full debut for the club and Shaw added the extras with a conversion, to make it 16-0 after 30 minutes.

Hull upped the tempo after that and on 33 minutes, Brad Hey spilled the ball on his own line after some high pressure by Rovers. Danny Addy was on hand to steal the ball and score for the hosts and Shaw picked up his third conversion to make it 22-0.

Knights can’t stop Rovers beast Mosa Masoe from scoring. Photograph © Hull KR photography

The second-half started brightly as the Knights were keeping Rovers penned in their own half.

Will Jubb went very close to scoring for the Knights against his old club, but York were dealt a blow minutes later when Brad Delaney fell awkwardly into two Rovers defenders, who immediately called for the physio.

It was a nasty collision that knocked out the Pakistan international, but fortunately, the injury was not as serious as initially feared.

The Knights seemed to have lost momentum after that and Hull sealed the game when a clinical counter attack from the hosts ended with Matty Marsh offloading to Addy, who scored his second try of that day.

Chris Atkin kicked the conversion and the Knights were 28-0 down going into the final 15 minutes.

The Knights seemed to have all the penalties in the second half, but some wasteful passing denied them to chance to convert any… until the 78th minute when the Knights finally got their break.

Harry Carter won a penalty for the Knights after some impressive play from dummy-half, and the hooker crossed the line to score a well deserved consolation try.

That fittingly allowed Cockayne to have last say of the day. The former Hull winger received the loudest cheer of the day after kicking the resulting conversion with ease, on an emotional day for the 34-year-old.

The full time whistle blew with the score at 28-6 and the Knights will go into their next pre-season friendly with Featherstone Rovers with their heads held high, after a spirited performance.

Cockayne grateful

Ben Cockayne was grateful for support in his testimonial match. Photograph © Hull KR Photography

It was an emotional occasion for Ben Cockayne, who returned to Kingston Rovers in a Knights shirt after making 231 appearances in two separate spells at the club.

The man from Pontefract has enjoyed a decorated career in the Super League and became a fans favourite at Craven Park, despite being suspended by Rovers in 2011, due to a number of off-field incidents.

But the veteran is looking forward to his tenure as a York player, after posting a video on twitter this morning (Jan 8th) thanking everyone involved with his testimonial match.