YORK City Knights will have to travel more than twice the average distance for Northern Rail Cup group games next season – a costly fact which they have been quick to point out to Rugby Football League chiefs.

As revealed in The Press yesterday, the Knights’ fixtures for 2011 have now been announced, and see the Championship new-boys travel not only to London Skolars in the Northern Rail Cup but also to the Cumbrian outpost of Barrow.

This amounts to a total distance travelled of 644 miles – and comes despite the promise of more derby matches in the competition’s group stage.

The Knights’ two home matches are all-Yorkshire affairs against Featherstone and Keighley, but the two away games total a distance of 644 miles, and, with South Wales Scorpions not in this competition, the trip to London is the costliest bus fare for any mainland club. I t also works out as more expensive than going to Toulouse as the RFL contribute travel costs for teams going to south France.

Knights general manager Ian Wilson said: “Someone has to go there (London) but it should be someone different every year and they should not really send us to Barrow as well.

“Batley, by comparison, have got Halifax and Hunslet as their away games, and that amounts to 42 miles in total.”

York have been handed financially unfavourable group games against the Skolars in the last two years – both at home, with the Londoners bringing few fans – while in 2009 they also had to contend with two more cash costly ties against far-flung Cumbrian teams, at home to Whitehaven (which had to be rescheduled to a night kick-off after a postponement) and away to Workington.

Despite the promise of a return in the main to derby clashes in the Northern Rail Cup group stage next term, the average total distance clubs must travel for their two away games is 316 miles. That is less than half the 644 miles for the Knights and their fans.