Date – Friday 15th May
Kick-off – 8:00pm
Venue – Langtree Park
A proper David versus Goliath game in the Ladbrokes Challenge Cup sixth round. James Ford’s York City Knights have had a mixed bag of results to start this season’s League 1 campaign but current Super League champions St Helens have been around the top since the beginning and are three points behind table-toppers Leeds Rhinos.
Last Time Out
St Helens travelled to France to take on Catalans Dragons at the Stade Gilbert Brutus. The Dragons are usually unflappable on home turf and they proved so once again as they overcame Saints 33-26. A bright performer for the visitors was Adam Swift, who ended up with four tries for his troubles. It was Swift who opened the scoring after three minutes but Benjamin Garcia replied to make it one score apiece after 15 minutes. Zeb Taia put the Dragons in front soon after Garcia’s try but it’d be Saints who’d take over the first half with three successive tries. A quick Swift double brought up a first half hat-trick for the winger before Shannon McDonnell added to St Helens’ lead. Garcia scored his second of the day a minute before half-time, reducing the arrears in the process as Catalans went into the sheds 20-18 down. Morgan Escare put the hosts back in the driving seat just after the hour mark had passed, and it wasn’t long before a Dureau penalty goal put six points between the two sides. Those six points were relinquished when Swift went over in front of the sticks for his fourth after some good work from Josh Jones. But, in true Catalans fashion in Perpignan, they find ways to win and close games out. Taia notched his brace when he put some marvellous footwork on show before Dureau killed the game with a drop-goal in the final minute.
York City Knights, similar to Saints, were on their travels for a league match. But this match was in Gloucestershire against the All Golds, not Perpignan. The Knights put in a good performance and were victorious by 46-6, elevating themselves up to sixth in the table. Pat Smith scored the first try of proceedings after two minutes, and the slender lead was worked upon when Tyler Craig touched down. Chris Vitalini replied for the All Golds in the 18th minute but York finished the half strongly as Josh Tonks and Ben Dent both crossed the whitewash within the final six minutes. Smith added to his try tally with a second to start off the second half before Tonks got his brace on the 55th minute. Nev Morrison and Greg Minikin were the final players to score four pointers in the match, rounding up a good day for the Knights.
It’s always going to be a struggle for the Knights of League 1 with the current Super League champions but they will want to put in a spirited performance and they’ll be able to do that if former Sheffield half-backs Jonny Presley and Pat Smith are able to pass the ball out to the flanks despite the quick line speed of Saints. Whether Travis Burns and Luke Walsh feature or not, it will always be tough for York to compete but James Ford will have his lads motivated to put in a good shift.
Should be an easy evening for the Saints but will the magic of the cup rear its head once more, this time in truly spectacular fashion? – Saints by 50