Flashback to glory of Knights gone by

Flashback to glory of Knights gone by

Wayne Reittie races clear to score the first try as York City Knights began to take control in their Grand Final victory over Oldham in 2010. Picture: Gordon Clayton

How The Press back page reported York City Knights’ Grand Final glory back in 2010

First published in Sport
Last updated

WHO can think about any game against Oldham without casting their minds back to one of the most glorious episodes in the history of York City Knights?

The club, then led by head coach Dave Woods, were 5-2 outsiders with the bookmakers when they arrived at Warrington's Halliwell Jones Stadium to meet the Roughyeds in the 2010 Championship One Grand Final.

The Lancashire side had already seen off York once, in the qualifying semi-finals, and, after three consecutive Grand Final defeats, arrived convinced it was finally their time.

They were to be disappointed once again.

Self belief oozed through the Knights that day. Defensively, they crowded Oldham and in attack slowly squeezed the life out of their increasingly dispirited opponents.

All of which was done despite a number of players needing treatment for a variety of wounds.

It would all amount to a 25-4 victory and a stand-out performance from the play-maker, and soon to be head coach, Chris Thorman.

Celebrating his 30th birthday on the field, the Geordie put in a commanding display - showing all the skills and nous that had made him a star in Super League.

Oldham fielded exactly the same 17 that had bested the Knights a couple of weeks earlier but, this time, they could not get out of their own half in the first quarter.

It only brought four points for York, though, Wayne Reittie grabbing the try and, when Oldham tied the game through Mick Fogerty, their early dominance had counted for little.

Cue the cavalry charge.

James Haynes finished superbly from full-back and York created more and more chances - bombing their fair share too - before the game got scrappy and Thorman, along with Steve Lewis, crossed to secure an against-the-odds victory.

It all ended amid joyous scenes. What would we give too see those again at Headingley Carnegie Stadium on October 5?

IF there wasn't enough incentive for the current crop of Knights heroes in recreating that Grand Final glory and returning to rugby league's Championship, then surely the imminent relegation of Bradford Bulls from Super League provides an even more compelling reason.

The Odsal giants, four times Super League winners, five times victors of the Challenge Cup and World Cup Challenge grandees on three occasions, look set to follow London Broncos through the top tier trapdoor - and their relegation could be confirmed as early as this weekend.

Their fate will be sealed should they lose at Huddersfield or if Salford and Hull both pick up victories.

Bulls managing director Steve Ferres, who was one of the founding fathers of the Knights, says the Bulls are already preparing for their new life in the second sphere and their presence will be a huge attraction, and a potenital money-spinner, for any team to which they travel.

So you can understand why York are so keen to get the job done, and get back to the Championship at the first attempt, by winning the Grand Final later this year.

For Knights boss Gary Thornton, though, there are other compelling reasons for looking to secure promotion as soon as possible.

"Even without those two teams, there are eye-catching games against Leigh, Halifax and Sheffield and that gives you a little bit more of an incentive to get the season finished off," he said.

"The Bulls against York at home would be absolutely fantastic. A lot of people in York would like to see that game. We have to get over the final hurdle to get there.

"That is what we are focused on. We are focused on getting promoted into the Championship."

With tough, traditional sides like Rochdale, Barrow and Swinton set to be in Championship One next season, Thornton also believes it is only going to get harder to escape the longer the Knights have to lounge in rugby league's lowest tier.

He added: "The level of competition is going to increase across the three divisions.

"We need to try and get out this year. It will be a lot harder to do that the year after. We are fully understanding of that. I am trying to keep the pressure off the players and focused on what we are doing.

"I am really delighted with the way the players have bought into it. They know what they need to do. We have to keep grounded and go game by game. We have won absolutely nothing. We have shown a little bit of good form but I still believe there are swings and roundabouts to go through.

"There is plenty of opportunity for someone to come up on the rails.

"Just look at our opponents this weekend. How many times have they been in a Grand Final? Five at least. They have got plenty of experience. North Wales ran away with the last one but Oldham were on top going into the play-offs.

"There are a different set of scenarios going into play-off football. We have to make sure we are prepared and ready for that. I hope we can keep it going and keep our feet on the throat of the opposition.

"We can't do it any other way. "

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