MATCH REPORT: Rovers start 2018 with York win
HULL KINGSTON ROVERS 28 – 6 YORK CITY KNIGHTS: The Robins get their pre-season campaign off to a winning start in Ben Cockayne’s Testimonial game.
Danny Addy grabbed a pair of tries as the Red and Whites started their preparations for their Super League return in impressive style.
Rovers raced into a 22-point half-time lead courtesy of tries to Liam Salter, Rob Mulhern, Mose Masoe and the first of a double from Danny Addy, alongside three goals from the boot of Ryan Shaw.
Debutant Danny McGuire shone in a promising 40-minute cameo, kicking a 40-20 and showing some classy touches before being withdrawn at the break.
The second half saw both sides ringing the changes, and although the fluency of the first half was lost to some degree, Addy grabbed a second try before a last-minute consolation for York allowed Cockayne to kick a conversion on his return to KCOM Craven Park.
The Robins looked bright in the early minutes, and only a fumble from Liam Salter denied him the opening points after a pair of cross-kicks from stand-in skipper Danny McGuire and some smart hands put the centre in space.
Salter made no mistake a couple of minutes later though, after James Greenwood smuggled an offload away and quick hands from McGuire and Chris Clarkson put the centre over.
The first penalty of the game gave York their first attacking chance of the day, but a fantastic one-on-one tackle from Thomas Minns cut Joe Batchelor down and McGuire popped up with a smart 40-20 early in the next set to turn the pressure back onto the visitors.
A James Greenwood error spurned that chance, but strong carries from the impressive front-row pair of Rob Mulhern and debutant Jordan Walne drew a penalty from a retreating York defence soon after, and Mulhern took a Tommy Lee pass to crash over.
Ryan Shaw converted, and another member of the front-row union joined Mulhern on the scoresheet as half-time approached.
Mose Masoe and Walne gave Rovers momentum with some big runs that allowed Danny Addy to go close from dummy-half. The visitors smothered him, but on the next play Masoe crashed through some static defence to score.
Shaw converted, and four minutes later Addy grabbed the Red and Whites’ fourth try of the game when French trialist Nabil Djalout palmed Chris Atkin’s cross-kick back for Addy to twist over and score.
Shaw’s third goal gave the Robins a well-deserved 22-point lead at the break, but the visitors began the second half brightly and forced repeat sets on Rovers’ line. The Red and Whites’ defence held strong though, and York saw their momentum dented somewhat when scrum-half Brad Delaney was stretchered off after being knocked-out.
The game got back underway after a lengthy stoppage, and a sublime chip from Chris Atkin almost put a try on a plate for the chasing Matty Marsh, only for his half-back partner to fumble the bouncing ball as he tried to pick it up on the fly.
With both teams ringing the changes, the game began to break up and some smart hands from ex-Robins Graeme Horne and Will Jubb opened up their former club through the middle. Marsh brought Horne down before picking up and unceremoniously dumping man of the moment Cockayne on the next tackle.
The City Knights were growing in confidence and only the awareness of Chris Clarkson denied Horne as Connor Robinson’s grubber bounced off the base of the upright.
Shaw swooped on a loose offload a few minutes later to set up a Rovers riposte, and after Marsh released Kieren Moss on a 30-metre break, the young half-back popped up again with a beautiful offload to put Addy in for his second try.
Atkin converted, and Addy broke away straight from the restart as the Robins hunted more points. Atkin was in support and pinned his ears back for the corner, but a fantastic chase from Connor Robinson saw him pull off an outstanding last-ditch tackle at the corner to deny him.
Fittingly, the final word went to York, and the testimonial man.
Batchelor went close and Dan Hawkesworth fumbled over the line before young hooker Harry Carter plunged over from dummy-half, allowing Cockayne to step up and slot over the conversion to round off the scoring.
Head coach Tim Sheens said: “I’m really happy with it for a number of reasons. Firstly, we didn’t come away with any major injuries, which is always the first thing you think about. Secondly, we did a lot of hard work in defence, which is not what we planned but I’d rather have a game like that than have a blow-out scoreline. With a 14-3 penalty count against us and some forward pass calls, we had to work really hard in defence and we handled it well.
“I was pleased with our attitude throughout and the young players did a good job. I think we finished the game with seven academy players on the field and whilst it was a shame the York try came during that period, they all came through very well. They were all pleased just to have 10 minutes on the field, which shows just how good their attitude has been all pre-season.”
Tim Sheens gave five of his off-season signings their first run-out of pre-season, with Danny McGuire lining up alongside Chris Atkin in the half-backs. Tommy Lee started at dummy-half, while Jordan Walne and Thibault Franck were named on a 14-man bench that also featured French international back-rower Nabile Djalout, who was given the chance to impress as a trialist.
Hull KR: 1. Adam Quinlan; 5. Ryan Shaw, 22. Liam Salter, 3. Thomas Minns, 25. Kieren Moss; 20. Matty Marsh, 7. Danny McGuire; 21. Rob Mulhern, 19. Tommy Lee, 10. Mose Masoe; 11. Maurice Blair, 12. James Greenwood, 17. Chris Clarkson.
Subs: 16. Danny Addy, 24. Chris Atkin, 27. Will Oakes, 29. Jordan Walne, 30. Joe Cator, 31. Brad Clavering, 33. Thibault Franck, Nabil Djalout (trialist), Ben Butler, Owen Harrison, Harry Bardle, Elliot Walis, Tom Jubb, Adam Rooks.
Tries: Addy (2), Salter, Mulhern, Masoe
Goals: Shaw (3/4), Atkin (1/1)
York: 2. Ben Cockayne; 5. Judah Mazive, 4. Brad Hey, 11. Joe Batchelor, 25. Tom Saxton; 6. Connor Robinson, 7. Brad Delaney; 8. Adam Robinson, 9. Andy Ellis, 10. Graeme Horne; 12. Sam Scott, 19. Mike Kelly, 13. Tim Spears.
Subs: 14. Harry Carter, 15. Chris Siddons, 17. Joe Porter, 20. Will Jubb, 21. Rory Dixon, 24. Dan Hawkesworth, Matt Chilton, Liam Jackson.
Referee: Nick Bennett
Goals: Cockayne (1/1)
Man of The Match
Fresh from his impressive World Cup campaign with Scotland, Danny Addy made an instant impact on his return to KCOM Craven Park with two tries and a performance brimming with energy and determination in several positions including back row, hooker and centre.
Rovers continue their build-up to the Super League season as they travel to the KCOM Stadium to face Hull FC on Sunday 14th January (kick-off 2pm) for Danny Houghton’s Testimonial game and the Clive Sullivan Trophy.