YORK City Knights boss Gary Thornton couldn’t have been happier after his side completed their “four from four” aim to stay clear at the top of Championship One – but he reserved special praise for winger Ben Dent.
The former New Earswick All Blacks amateur starlet scored one of the tries of the season as he took his 2014 tally to 13 in 15 outings with a brace in the Knights' 58-16 hammering of Oxford.
The result avenged York’s only home defeat of term so far – the 24-16 reverse in April – and also made it four wins from their four consecutive long-distance away matches ahead of next week’s return to Huntington Stadium, when second-placed Oldham come to visit.
“I’m delighted with the win. Some of what we did was excellent,” Thornton said. “We had a really good mindset. That first defensive set was awesome and really set the tone.
“There were a couple of sloppy periods but it was our fourth long journey down (to the south) and we came away with another three good points.
“Ben Dent’s try was sensational. What an athlete, to take a tough kick under pressure and go the full length of the field was just superb.
“But across the board we were excellent. It was difficult to pick out any one individual when the team played so well.
“Pat Smith and Ben Reynolds were terrific again (at half-back) and Jack Lee and Kriss Brining were really good (interchanging at hooker). The pack of forwards, though, were dominant. Apart from their number nine (Oxford captain Alex Thompson, who was playing at loose-forward), we completely dominated their pack. We were terrific in there and, when they needed to, the backs stepped up to the plate.”
Included in York’s pack was prop Jay Leary, making his debut off the bench after joining on loan from Batley. He replaced Brad Brennan, also on loan from the Bulldogs, who began a two-match ban.
Thornton added: “Jay was struggling a bit with his fitness but with more minutes on the field he will be better for it. He still took some stopping and got us going forward.
“On the whole the pack were excellent.”
As for this period of matches on the road, which has seen the club clock up 1,600 miles in 22 days, Thornton added: “I’m really pleased with the way we’ve come through these four tough away games.
“It’s not just the games themselves but the travelling and everything else that comes into it.
“We’re playing really well at the moment. We came for four out of four wins and we got them. I couldn’t ask for anything more. We just have to kick on now.”