YORK Wasps left the Huntington Stadium pitch for possibly the last time yesterday amid emotional scenes of sadness, disbelief and reflection.

Most of the York supporters in the 1,000-plus crowd stayed right to the end to applaud their heroes from the field.

They realised the significance of the occasion, yet for many the reality has perhaps not yet sunk in.

If the club is wound-up in the High Court on Wednesday then the curtain comes down on a century of history. There will be no trip to Featherstone next Sunday, no more getting together with friends on the Stadium terraces - no more professional rugby league in York.

If it is the end, then this was a disappointing way to bow out. But somehow the match seemed of little importance in the overall scheme of things.

The impending doom and gloom had taken its toll on the players who were subdued for much of the first half.

They were never in contention and Hull KR, ever the professionals, took full advantage. It cannot have been easy for Rovers knowing they could have been hammering the final nail in the coffin of a struggling club.

But there was no room for sentiment. They are still trying to cling on to a top eight play-off spot and need all the points they can get.

They duly earned the points on offer yesterday with a competent first half display which effectively ended York's challenge.

Three tries, all converted by Mark Hewitt, gave them an 18-0 lead and solid tackling in the second half helped them stave off York's spirited comeback.

It took Rovers just five minutes to get off the mark. A penalty took play into the Wasps 20 metre area and centre Whetu Taewa latched onto Richard Wilson's pass at pace to cut inside full-back Kevin Gray and score near the posts.

York almost hit straight back. Rovers loose forward Chris Charles caught the kick-off with a foot in touch to give York possession deep in Robins territory and Andy Hill was tackled inches short.

Hooker Alan Pallister then thought he had scored when he was put through by Garry Atkins but the player-coach's pass was ruled forward.

That disappointment was heightened a minute later when Rovers were given the benefit of the doubt over a suspected forward pass. After York failed to take a high bomb, Rovers moved the ball out to Gavin Molloy who was awarded a try despite appeals for a forward pass.

Eight minutes before the break Rovers were in again. Charles juggled with Leroy Joe's pass and powered his way over the line despite Atkins' desperate attempts to haul him back.

Scrum-half Chris Hammerton, back at York after a six-year absence, came on at half-time to make his 100th appearance.

And the 36-year-old played a part in the Wasps only try. His ball sent Callaghan through a gap 40 metres out and he drew the full-back before releasing Spencer Hargrave on a clear run to the line.

Kevin Gray added the conversion to put York within two scores of the Robins.

But the visitors sealed the match 20 minutes from the end when Rob Nolan crashed over for perhaps the last try to be scored at the Stadium.

York sensed the match was over, and soon it was. There was mutual applause between players and supporters as they departed the ground.

Masocts Wobby, Bullman, Bullboy, Rufus Robin and Yorkie followed, leaving behind a desolate pitch and empty terraces which may never again be filled by the cheers of York Rugby League supporters.

Northern Ford Premiership

York Wasps 6, Hull KR 24

(Sunday, June 4 at Huntington Stadium)

YORK WASPS: Kevin Gray 6, Gareth Lloyd 7, Simon Irving 6, Andrew Lambert 6, Matt Woodcock 7, Garry Atkins 7, Darren Callaghan 7, Rich Hayes 7, Alan Pallister 7, Steve Hill 7, Chris Judge 8, Andy Hill 7, Spencer Hargrave 7.

Subs: Chris Hammerton (Atkins 40mins) 7, Paul Darley (S Hill 39) 6, Mick Ramsden (A Hill 62) -, Craig Forsyth (Hayes 72) -.

Re-subs: S Hill for Hargrave 72.

Blood-bin: Forsyth for Hargrave 17mins, returned 23

Tries: Hargrave (48mins)

Conversions: Gray 1

Guildford Construction/Evening Press Man of the Match

Chris Judge:

Tremendous defensive stint and showed plenty of aggression and direct running going forward. All-round commitment never wavered.

HULL KR: Andy Taylor, Jon Wray, Rob Nolan, Whetu Taewa, Gavin Molloy, Leroy Joe, Mark Hewitt, Paul Fletcher, Steve Cochrane, Richard Wilson, Andy Smith, Richard Slater, Chris Charles.

Subs: Mike Dixon (Cochrane 28mins), Mark Blanchard (Wray 63), Jon Wilkins (Slater 49), Craig Hardy (Fletcher 33).

Re-subs: Fletcher for Wilson 60, Cochrane for Smith 74.

Tries: Taewa (5mins), Molloy (12), Charles (32), Nolan (60)

Conversions: Hewitt 4

Match statistics

Penalties: York 6, Hull KR 8

Scrums won: York 10, Hull KR 9

40/20 kicks: York 0, Hull KR 1

Half-time: York 0, Hull KR 18

Referee: Steve Nicholson (Whitehaven)

Attendance: 1,195

Match rating: 6/10

York's next match: versus Featherstone Rovers at Lionheart Stadium on Sunday, June 11, kick-off 3pm.