YORK City Knights will meet Kingstone Press Championship champions Sheffield Eagles next month – in the final piece of their pre-season jigsaw.
The fixture, to be played on Sunday, February 9 (3pm) will be a testimonial game for popular Sheffield stalwart Andrew Henderson, but will be played at York’s Huntington Stadium as the Eagles’ new home back at Owlerton is not expected to be ready to stage games until the league campaign starts.
Sheffield, and Henderson himself, have been quick to thank York for their hospitality, but Knights chairman John Guildford reckons his team will also benefit – in their preparation for Championship One if not in the bank.
The fixture adds to first-team friendlies at Castleford this Sunday (1pm) – when the hosts are poised to start with predominantly a Super League side – and at home to Gateshead on January 26 and a York Select XIII on February 16.
Guildford said: “We needed another game and it’s a good game for us against a very strong side – the Championship champions.
“That’s something we wanted before our season starts, and it works well for us.
“Hopefully it will be good for Andrew Henderson too as he is a very good servant to the game.
“I hope lots of fans of both clubs turn out as he deserves it, and hopefully it will be a good match.”
Henderson, Scotland's most capped player, had feared he would not be able to squeeze in a testimonial match until the Knights came to the rescue.
“It’s great I have got the game. I’d like to thank York and their chairman John Guildford for all their help,” said Henderson.
“York have been great by agreeing to stage the game.
“It’ll be a proud day for me after so long in the game of rugby league.
“It’s only a week away from the start of our season and it’ll be a a good test for both clubs.”
The game, like all the friendlies at Huntington Stadium, will be pay on the day, with prices cut to £10 for adults, £5 for concessions and £4 for under-16s.
Henderson will keep the profits from the gate, though the Knights will hope to generate some money from the bar takings.
York kick off their campaign at home to Gloucestershire All Golds on March 2.