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Rugby League Championships League 1

Championship 1: Knights halt Hornets’ unbeaten run

Rochdale Hornets’ 10 game unbeaten run in League One was ended at Bootham Crescent, as York City Knights cruised to a 40-12 victory.

It was the third game in a week for the Knights, while the Hornets enjoyed a weekend off prior to the fixture, however it seemed to do Alan Kilshaw’s men no good as they were heavily beaten.

The hosts were dominant from the off and punished their opponents when they came up with poor errors and penalties.

Rochdale invited pressure early on with a couple of handling errors, and were made to pay after 11 minutes when Ed Smith was found in space before sending his winger Austin Buchanan over in the corner.

Three penalties in a row gave the home side a chance to extend their lead to eight points, as Danny Nicklas knocked over a penalty goal from in front.

Buchanan was in for his second after 25 minutes as he benefitted from Jonny Presley’s clever kick, with the wide man pouncing in a similar position to his first effort.

Hornets threatened on a number of occasions but a mixture of poor handling and determined defence kept them out.

With six minutes of the half remaining Nicklas was over for his side’s third score, ducking under some soft goal line defence to make it 16-0.

The visitors trailed by 22 points at the break as Michael Ratu failed to deal with a simple chip over the top by Tommy Saxton, with James Morland scooping up the loose ball before Ben Dent raced under the sticks on the hooter.

The travelling support were looking for a response in the second period, however York picked up where they left off with Kris Brining strolling over from dummy half after just three minutes.

And within five minutes it was game over, as Nicklas dummied his way through the defensive line and found the impressive Josh Tonks in support who finished the move.

It took 63 minutes for the Hornets to finally trouble the scoreboard, as Saxton couldn’t deal with Danny Yates’ bomb and Dale Bloomfield pounced on his error, with Paul Crook converting.

Two minutes later they had conceded again though, as Tonks once again benefitted from a Nicklas break in identical fashion to score his second of the afternoon.

In the aftermath of the try Ben Moores was sin binned for a push off the ball.

Jono Smith extended his prolific try scoring run to six games with a consolation effort eight minutes from time, showing great strength to barge over from close range with Crook converting again.

Hornets’ last touches of the game summed up their afternoon though, as Wayne English attempted a dangerous offload inside his own 10 metre area to Chris Riley, who wasn’t expecting it and fumbled the ball.

That gave the Knights one last attack, and from the resulting set Pat Smith sent Mike Emmett crashing over, with Nicklas’ conversion rounding off the victory for the hosts.


York City Knights

Ben Dent, Tommy Saxton, James Morland, Ed Smith, Austin Buchanan, Jonny Presley, Danny Nicklas, Brett Waller, Pat Smith, Jack Aldous, Josh Tonks, Ross Divorty, Mike Emmett

Subs(all used): Kris Brining, Matty Dale, Mark Applegarth, Russ Spiers


Tries: Buchanan (11, 25), Nicklas (34), Dent (39), Brining (43), Tonks (48, 66), Emmett (78)

Goals: Nicklas 4/8 Dent 0/1


Rochdale Hornets

Wayne English, Dale Bloomfield, Michael Ratu, Lewis Galbraith, Chris Riley, Paul Crook, Danny Yates, Samir Tahraoui, Ben Moores, Warren Thompson, Jono Smith, Joe Philbin, James Tilley

Subs (all used): Alex McClurg, Matty Hadden, Alex Trumper, Dan Murray


Tries: Bloomfield (63), Smith (72)

Goals: Crook 2/2

Sin bin: Ben Moores (push off the ball, 65)

Man of the Match: Josh Tonks (York City Knights)

Referee: Callum Straw

Penalty count: 7-5

Attendance: 613

Featured photo supplied by Jackie Meredith


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