Northern Rail Cup travel woe to kick off Knight's 2011 season

First published in Sport

NEWLY-PROMOTED York City Knights will clock up the miles in the 2011 Northern Rail Cup – much to the dismay of coach Dave Woods.

The Huntington Stadium club’s fixtures were published today, with the Knights handed Northern Rail Cup trips to Barrow and London Skolars, as well as home games against Featherstone Rovers and Keighley Cougars.

Woods said: “It is a tough group but I am more disappointed about the travelling. We thought we might be in a group with the likes of Hunslet.

“We’ve got a lot of travelling to do, but it is one of those things.”

The trip to Barrow will be the season opener on Sunday, February 6, with the London Skolars away game on Sunday, February 20.

Featherstone visit Huntington Stadium on Sunday, February 13, with the Knights hosting Keighley on Sunday, February 27.

Although he will take the Northern Rail Cup seriously, Woods admitted that the club’s main focus would be on survival in the Co-operative Championship.

Having won promotion through the play-offs, the Knights open their league campaign away to fellow newcomers Hunslet Hawks on Sunday, March 13.

Said Woods: “Staying up in the Championship is our main focus, but we would like to go as far as we can in the Northern Rail Cup.

“We won’t be stupid about it and back blokes up in the competition. It is an opportunity for us to give a couple of young blokes a run and see how they go in that level of competition.

“Playing Hunslet first is going to be tough because it always is against them, but all the games are going to be tough this season.”

The Knights’ second game, at home to Sheffield on Thursday, March 17, has been selected for live coverage on Sky Sports.

Woods said: “It’s good that we are going to get the opportunity on television. It is good for the boys and we will be well supported for that game.”

The game at Batley on Thursday, May 19 is also live on television.

Meanwhile, Woods was disappointed at the scheduling of the club’s trip to Toulouse.

The Knights are due to take on the French club on Easter Bank Holiday Monday, April 25, with a 6.30pm kick off, having played Hunslet at Huntington Stadium on Good Friday at 2pm.

“I’m not overly happy with the lead up to the Easter weekend,” he said. “We don’t have a game for a couple of weeks and then we play Hunslet on the Friday and go to Toulouse on the Monday.

“That’s not ideal, but you’ve got to deal with these things.”

He also sympathised with Knights fans who would have been looking forward to the French trip.

“It’s an attractive game for the fans, but it’s not good timing,” said Woods.

“You can’t come back after the game on Monday, so they would have to get Tuesday off work at the end of a long Bank Holiday weekend.”

The Knights start their pre-season friendly programme against a York Select XIII on December 27 and Woods was delighted with his squad’s build up.

“We are really happy with the way we are progressing,” he said. “The boys are training well and it’s all good so far.”


Knights fixtures

Northern Rail Cup

February
Sun 6: Barrow (a) (2pm)
Sun 13: Featherstone (h) (3pm)
Sun 20: London Skolars (a) (3pm)
Sun 27: Keighley (h) (3pm).

April
Sun 10: Quarter-finals.

June
Sun 19: Semi-finals.

July
Sun 17: Final.

Co-operative Championship

March
Sun 13: Hunslet (a) (3pm)
Thur 17: Sheffield (h) (7.30pm, Sky TV)
Sun 27: Barrow (h) (3pm).

April
Sun 3: Widnes (a) (3pm)
Fri 22: Hunslet (h) (2pm)
Mon 25: Toulouse (a) (6.30pm).

May
Sun 1: Dewsbury (h) (3pm)
Sat 14: Barrow (a) (6.30pm)
Thur 19: Batley (a) (7.30pm, Sky TV)
Sun 29: Leigh (h) (3pm).

June
Sun 5: Featherstone (a) (3pm)
Sun 12: Widnes (h) (3pm)
Sun 26: Dewsbury (a) (3pm).

July
Fri 1: Batley (h) (8pm)
Sat 9: Toulouse (h) (6pm)
Sun 24: Halifax (a) (3pm).

August
Fri 5: Featherstone (h) (8pm)
Sun 14: Leigh (a) (3pm)
Sun 21: Halifax (h) (3pm)
Sun 4: Sheffield (a) (3pm).

September
Sun 11: Play-offs start.

October
Sun 2: Finals Day.

Challenge Cup

March
Sun 6: Round 3.

May
Sun 8: Round 4
Sun 22: Round 5.

July
Sun 24: Quarter-finals.

August
Sun 7: Semi-finals
Sun 28: Final.

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