YORK City Knights are not a team to respect proud histories.

After defeating National League One Featherstone Rovers four times in as many early season cup encounters, yesterday they offered co-title favourites Sheffield Eagles a taste of their brand of magic with a resounding 34-16 win - exactly six years to the day since Sheffield's famous Challenge Cup final win against Wigan at Wembley.

The Knights were up for it from the off, being forced to soak up ten minutes of solid pressure from the heavy Eagles pack who were thwarted by some staunch tackling led by Rich Wilson, Lee Jackson and the powerful Yusuf Sozi.

Even Danny Brough - who must have been the smallest man on the pitch by some margin -- was in the thick of it to deny Greg Hurst, opposite number Gavin Brown and Jack Howieson among others from progressing.

But despite the seemingly unstinting pressure on the Knights line, it was the home team that chalked up the first points when Damian Ball released Scott Walker on the right after switching the play across the pitch. Brough added the extras with ease and the Knights were 6-0.

The Eagles stuck their claws in and almost pulled off a try of their own after a flowing move on their right opened up the way for Hurst leaving Jon Breakingbury only needing to catch it to be sure of the try. But the number four knocked it on and the Knights were off the hook.

York could have stretched their lead had Aaron Wood not been the subject of a unpunished high tackle two yards from the line.

A quality 40-20 kick from deep in the Eagles' half, though, proved to be a catalyst for Sheffield's first try as Nick Turnbull sent Kieron Collins through on the left. But the conversion was beyond the skill of former York man Rich Goddard.

Five minutes later, referee Mike Dawber was called into action after Callaghan linked up with Stewart, and squeezed through three tackles on the line to touchdown in the corner. And despite Stewart taking out the corner flag en route to the in-goal, Dawber awarded the score after consulting with his touch judge. Brough's missed goal offering some consolation to the aggrieved visitors.

Callaghan then claimed a score of his own against his former club after latching on to a great Scott Rhodes kick from deep with Hurst helping it on to him to crash over in the corner.

Three minutes into the second half after a Gavin Brown pass found Breakingbury in acres of space to score, Goddard's kick cutting the arrears to just four points.

But then came Callaghan. A fabulous run down the left wing caught the Eagles off guard and the sweet inside pass saw Stewart sprint over from around 25 yards to make it 18-10.

From then on, the Eagles looked a broken team, worn down by the heat of the day and the determined efforts of the Knights to match their powerful pack.

Brough popped up with a cheeky drop goal two minutes later and added a second on 55 minutes to stretch the score to 20-10.

Three minutes later, super sub Jim Elston popped up with his customary off the bench try between the posts and Brough had no problems with the extras.

Callaghan then fed Wood who gratefully took his chance for his first Huntington Stadium try to cap a gutsy all-round performance.

Wood was clean through with 15 yards of space in front of him just seconds later in a three-on-one attack but unselfishly passed it wide only for Callaghan to find opposite number Andy Raleigh in a momentary lapse of concentration.

Raleigh managed to run over without a hand being laid on him five minutes later would normally be a worry but Scott Walker's efforts seconds earlier to bring down speedy full back Andy Poynter on a 70-yard run proved that the Knights were still on the ball.

And indeed, Nathan Graham crashed over on the stroke of time to round off a solid and entertaining match.

If the Knights can continue to show this amount of strength and determination - including the phenomenal defending - they could well be the ones to create a bit of history for themselves in the near future.

Knights: Graham 8, Walker 8, Langley 7, Wood 7, Stewart 8, Rhodes 7, Brough 8, Wilson 7, Jackson 8, Sozi 8, Callaghan 8, Friend 7, Ball 7. Subs (all used): Elston 8, Cain 7, J Smith 7, Forsyth 7.

Tries: Walker 10, Stewart 30, 50, Callaghan 40, Elston 58, Wood 67, Graham 80.

Conversions: Brough 10, 58.

Penalties: None.

Drop goals: Brough 53, 55.

Sin-binned: None.

Sent off: None.

Man of the match: Darren Callaghan - a genuine force against his old club setting up three tries and getting one of his own.

Eagles: Poynter, Collins, Turnbull, Breakingbury, Hurst, Goddard, G Brown, Howieson, Stanley, Bruce, Raleigh, C Brown, J James. Subs (all used): Dickinson, Adams, Rice, Tillyer.

Tries: Collins 27, Breakingbury 44, Raleigh 72.

Conversions: Goddard 44, G Brown 72.

Penalties: None.

Drop goals: None.

Sin-binned: None.

Sent off: None.

HT: 14-4

Ref: Mike Dawber (Wigan)

Rating: Turned a blind eye to a lot of high tackling and slipped up with Stewart's first try.

Penalty Count: 7-6

Gamebreaker: Callaghan's pacey drive on 50 minutes to set up Stewart's brilliant 25-yard try to make it 18-10 broke the last resolve of the Eagles.

Attendance: 1,389

Weather watch: Another hot day made life difficult for both teams.

Match rating: Never a dull moment as Knights dominated throughout.

Updated: 11:09 Monday, May 03, 2004