Ryan’s mighty as top Knights scoop awards double

Ryan Backhouse

Ryan Backhouse

First published in Sport
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YORK City Knights' wonderful comeback win at arch-rivals Hunslet Hawks has been capped by an accolade double.

Ryan Backhouse has been named the Kingstone Press Championship One Player of the Week after his startling performance off the bench, while Colton Roche's late match-winner to nick a 20-18 victory was lauded the Championships' Try of the Week.

Every week each coach in the Championship and Championship One is contacted to help decide the awards, and Sunday's result, which virtually confirmed the Knights as third tier table-toppers ahead of the play-offs, has not gone unnoticed by judges.

Knights boss Gary Thornton said: "Ryan did 55 minutes for us (on Sunday), produced a turning point when James Ford scored, and made a host of clean breaks on the left edge throughout the game.

"He's played really well over the last few weeks, and he's getting better and better."

Former Castleford junior Backhouse had to bide his time to break into the Knights' 17 following his aborted spell in Australia earlier in the year, but he has featured in the last 12 games, including the club record-breaking nine wins in a row.

The second-row made an immediate impact after his introduction midway through the first half on Sunday as he broke free and fed Ford for the Knights' equalising try.

Thornton added: "He's a skilful player who creates a lot of tries from offloads in the tackle. He's not the biggest, but he's got good footwork at the line, and strength to go with it. His decision-making is also very good.”

Forward Roche, meanwhile, was hailed for his match-winning try which came six minutes before the final hooter. Seventy-nine minutes had passed on the stopwatch but there were five minutes of stoppage time.

The Knights had been trailing their arch-foes and promotion rivals until Roche, a May recruit from Featherstone Rovers and The Press July Player of the Month, stepped forward and powered his way to the line for his fourth try in ten appearances. James Haynes then added the decisive conversion.

Thornton said: "Colton's been excellent for us. He took a while to settle in, but now he's got his fitness and game-speed up, he's been a great addition.

"He took the ball about 15 or 20 metres away from the Hunslet line, and used all his strength to carry three or four defenders over with him.

"For a big fella he's got some terrific pace, and he uses it really well at the line."

Winger James Saltonstall, who try began the Knights' late fightback from 18-8 down, was also named in the Championship One Team of the Week for the second week running.

Hunslet's debutant prop Richard Moore, who turned down overtures from York to sign for the Hawks, was also named in the Team of the Week, as was Knights half-back Benn Hardcastle, who is on loan at Gateshead, after his two tries and eight goals in the Thunder's 58-20 win over South Wales Scorpions.

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