By Sean Hayes | 03/04/2016
Rochdale Hornets’ unbeaten start to the 2016 campaign was brought to an end in the iPro Sport Cup quarter-final, as they were beaten 40-16 by York City Knights.
The hosts started brightly and opened up an early 10-0 lead, and their chances of progressing to the last four looked good, however a poor second period saw their opponents take control of the contest.
Alan Kilshaw named four dual registered players due to the number of injuries the squad has picked up over the last few weeks, with Jo Taira becoming the eighth first team member to be side-lined.
With a number of players out of position they came up against a well drilled York side, who out enthused Hornets in the middle of the field and made them pay for their errors in attack.
Paul Crook marked his 150th appearance for the club with a try and two goals, however he will be disappointed with the result.
It took just two minutes for the first points of the game to be registered, as Rochdale successfully pulled off a short kick off and used the momentum gained from a penalty to score. Jono Smith, who moments before had been held up over the line, managed to find Wayne English with an offload and he sent Jordan Case over for the opener.
A strong carry from in-form forward Samir Tahraoui paved the way for their next score, as Ben Jullien marked his debut with a try after charging onto a cut-out ball from Crook.
York replied soon after though, as a perfectly weighted pass from Danny Nicklas found the onrushing Josh Tonks who went over untouched.
Some determined goal-line defence stopped a couple of York chances, however an uncharacteristic error from English was punished as the hosts took the lead.
The fullback attempted to keep the ball in-play following a 40/20 but could only knock the ball into touch, and from the resulting set Jonny Presley stepped through the sliding defence before handing possession to the supporting Ben Dent, who was over under the sticks.
Rochdale bombed a chance to edge back in front when Chris Riley knocked on with the line begging, after a great run from Joe Philbin created the chance for the wide man.
They were left to rue the missed opportunity when a floated pass from Presley found James Morland, and he showed great strength to force his way over out wide.
Hornets ensured that they would go into the break level with a try on the hooter though, as a clever kick from Danny Yates was pounced on by Crook, who converted his own effort.
After losing their grip on the game at the back end of the first period a response was needed in the second half, however after just five minutes the visitors were back in front.
It came from a Rochdale error, as a knock on gave York a free play and they took full advantage, putting the ball through a number of hands before Brett Turner finished the move in the corner.
The game remained in the balance for the majority of the second half, before three tries in seven minutes sealed the Hornets’ fate.
The first came after the Knights had absorbed some pressure on their own line, before a penalty gave them a piggyback up the field, and Ross Spiers charged over through some soft defence in the middle.
Turner’s second try was a sensational 90 metre effort off the back of a Case offload, as he tried to come up with a play to get his side back in the game but could only find Marland. The centre started the break before Turner supported and stepped past a host of attempted tackles to finish a great try.
Dent also picked up a second try when he strolled over out wide, with the game already won, before Riley was dismissed two minutes from time for dissent.
Nicklas added a penalty goal before the full-time hooter to round-off the scoring, and end Rochdale’s hopes of a trip to Blackpool.
Wayne English, Chris Riley, Ben Jullien, Jordan Case, Corey Lee, Paul Crook, Danny Yates, Ben Evans, Ben Moores, Samir Tahraoui, Jono Smith, Joe Philbin, Warren Thompson Subs (all used): Alex McClurg, Stuart Biscomb, Matty Hadden, Sam Wilde
Tries: Case (2), Jullien (6), Crook (40)
Goals: Crook 2/3
York City Knights
Brett Turner, Ben Dent, James Morland, Brad Hey, Austin Buchanan, Jonny Presley, Danny Nicklas, Ross Spiers, Harry Carter, Jack Aldous, Josh Tonks, Ed Smith, Mike Emmett Subs(all used): Kris Brining, Jack Anderson, Ryan Mallinder, Jordan Crowther
Tries: Tonks (13), Dent (26, 75), Morland (35), Turner (45, 72), Spiers (68)
Goals: Nicklas 6/8