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Knights see red as season ends
HEAD coach Gary Thornton tried not to criticise referee George Stokes too much as York City Knights’ relegation season ended in defeat amid two late red cards and fury towards the man in the middle.
The Knights, already sure of finishing bottom of Championship One, again threw away a lead as they conceded four tries in the last 17 minutes to lose 34-16 at home to play-off hopefuls Batley, having come from behind to lead 16-12.
But at the centre of attention was St Helens whistleblower Stokes, who earned derision from home supporters and in the last few minutes sent off Joe Pickets, for allegedly leaving Jonny Campbell bloodied and dazed with a punch off the ball, and Sam Scott, for dissent. Pickets had returned from a one-match ban.
Thornton said: “I don’t want to get drawn into it.
“There were certainly decisions that were doubtful and probably frustration came out on the back of it. Sam Scott just voiced his frustration. I did not see the Joe Pickets incident. Sam Scott’s was sheer frustration.
“Some decisions were obvious to most of the people in the crowd. There were a string of them (later in the game).
“I don’t want poor officiating to be the reason we lost the game but it certainly had a bearing on it.”
Thornton said of his team’s performance: “For 75 per cent of the game we were very good but we let it slip again. The scoreline did not reflect the effort that was put in.
“At 16-12 we looked good value for our lead but we couldn’t hold onto it and kick on.”
Thornton had made a few changes from the team that lost at Doncaster on Wednesday night, the result that sealed demotion.
However, his plan of throwing in more rookies only partially came to fruition, as 18-year-old centre Greg Minikin was too knackered after playing against the Dons and again for the under-20s on Thursday, while Kriss Brining, another teenager albeit with plenty of first-team recognition, was crocked.
Nevertheless, Tyler Craig was called up, Ben Dent kept his place and again justified inclusion, Ed Smith returned to the pack after his one game for the U20s, and Jack Iley was the replacement hooker.
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