York City Knights ran in 13 tries as they comfortably beat Hemel Stags to keep their grip on 4th place in League One and guarantee themselves a spot in the Super 8’s.
Liam Harris bagged four tries – including a 12 minute first-half hat-trick – David Foggin-Johnston also helped himself to a treble while Joe Batchelor crossed for two tries and Chris Siddons and Bradley Hey scored one each.
Connor Robinson notched up 20 points, including one try, while the returning Ryan Mallinder was also on the scoresheet.
The only dampener on an otherwise fruitful afternoon for the Knights was Tuoyo Egodo’s first-half injury; the Castleford Tigers loanee was forced off early on with a pulled hamstring.
Graeme Horne made his Knights debut at loose-forward having joined on dual-registration from Hull KR in midweek.
Bottom of the table Hemel were forced to play the majority of the second half with 12 men after full-back Marcus Elliott was sent off for a dangerous tackle on Pat Smith.
York made a blistering start, forcing a goal line dropout from their first set, and from their next Harris coasted through a huge gap to open the scoring. Just five minutes later the half-back was over again in similar fashion.
A fairly easy finish under the posts from Siddons made it 18-0 after only 14 minutes, before Harris completed his quick-fire hat-trick, although it owed much to Foggin-Johnston, who spectacularly broke the Stags’ line deep in his own half, before fending off at least three tacklers and having the presence of mind to pass to the supporting Harris.
The winger was soon on the scoreboard himself before Batchelor went over to make it 32-0 after 26 minutes. It might have been more had the referee not spotted a forward pass in a York move on the right that was finished by Nev Morrison.
The visitors rallied after the early onslaught and Williams scored for what would prove to be Hemel’s only try of the afternoon.
York kept the scoreboard ticking over in the second half, electing to run it on the last tackle, the ball was shipped out wide for Foggin-Johnston to score his second try of the game.
Elliott then saw red after a dangerous tackle on Pat Smith, which led to a bit of a fracas that was well handled by the match officials.
Soon after Foggin-Johnston acrobatically touched down in the left corner to complete his second hat-trick in as many games and, with Hemel’s already struggling defence now being stretched due to their inferior numbers, the Knights were ruthless.
Batchelor was put through after York had worked an overlap on the right, before Harris scored his fourth try, stemming from a break deep in York territory to make it 52-6..
There was no let-up from the hosts though, in fact the Knights added three more tries in the last five minutes. Once again York broke from deep and Hey added his name to the ever-growing list of try scorers, as did Connor Robinson.
Perhaps the most celebrated try of the afternoon was scored by Mallinder, who was making his comeback after being out of the game for over a year a breaking his leg. After the second rower scored under the sticks his and his teammates’ joy was clear for all to see and rounded off a pleasing afternoon for the Knights.