Knights U20s sweating on news of play-off place after agonising last-ditch loss at Oldham (From York Press)
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Knights U20s sweating on news of play-off place after agonising last-ditch loss at Oldham
12:33am Saturday 17th August 2013 in Sport
YORK City Knights under-20s will have to wait to find out if they have qualified for the U20s Championship play-offs after a controversial penalty with the last kick of the game denied them victory at Oldham tonight.
A win would have secured them third place in the table and a semi-final play-off against second-placed Featherstone for the right to meet league leaders Salford in the final.
However, the young side’s 18-17 defeat, sealed by a penalty for offside, means they will have to sweat on the Rugby Football League’s calculations to discover whether they will lose third place to Leigh.
Placings in this league are determined on win percentage but the issue has been complicated as the Centurions drew their last game, and by the fact York had a recent match against Rochdale called off as Dale could not raise a team, with the Knights yet to be given the result. York had lost their first three games but won the next seven until last night.
Knights U20s coach James Ford said: “I’m proud of these young lads. They’ve come on so much and it would be a crying shame not to make it into the play-offs.”
York seemed to be on their way to victory after Tyler Craig’s early opener – flipping out a pass to Adam Dent and then taking the return to score.
However, a late hit on Scott Talbot, which brought a penalty but no further punishment for transgressor Ryan Ravenscroft, rattled the York full-back and, while he recovered sufficiently to pull off a try-saver on George Dyson, it was his poor pass and fumble under a kick which saw Oldham build pressure to go ahead through Andrew Ball’s try from dummy-half, and Dyson’s conversion.
Sub hooker Stephen Batty slipped through to put York ahead again, Dent goaling, but consternation under the high, hanging restart, young Danny Simpson flailing under pressure, brought an immediate riposte, Richard Joy the scorer, Dyson goaling.
Luke Tomlinson denied Oldham another try when chasing back to tackle Ravenscroft, but another high kick brought the hosts further reward, Tom Hurst’s try making it 16-10 at half-time.
Craig, The Press’ man of the match, scythed through early in the second half to send the classy Greg Minikin home, Josh Poulter goaling, and Craig was also to fore at the other end, forcing Oldham out of bounds when a try looked afoot.
James Morland, decent at half-back all night, eked the Knights ahead with a 69th-minute drop goal, and York appeared set for victory when Ryan Parker charged down a last-minute drop-goal attempt at the other end.
But young referee Rob Webb, of Leigh, deemed Parker offside and Dyson booted the two-pointer.
Ford was aggrieved the early off-the-ball hit on 17-year-old Talbot brought no cards and by the late penalty call.
He said: “Ryan says he was not offside. It was a strange decision but it’s a learning curve for referees as well at this level.
“Oldham came out fired up and were very aggressive, playing the game on the line of what’s acceptable.
“We copped a few injuries after some interesting tackling techniques but I was pleased with how we adapted.
“I’m proud of my middle blokes. Tim Stubbs was very good and it was good to see him looking after the smaller blokes.
“Credit to Oldham, though, they kept going and got that break at the end.”
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