YORK City Knights kicked off their 2020 pre-season campaign with a hard-fought 12-12 draw at Featherstone Rovers.

The Knights had the edge of a 6-4 half-time lead after a solo Connor Robinson try and extended that through a fine debut finish from Elliot Wallis.

But Featherstone dug in and scored twice in the final four minutes to salvage a draw.

The result will be deemed as secondary to the performance by York and the Knights fans got to witness the majority of their new additions for the first time in proper match action.

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Of the seven new signings, six featured here, with only the injured Jimmy Keinhorst missing.

Former Halifax pair Will Sharp and Ben Johnston were given starts while forward trio Danny Washbrook, James Green and Chris Clarkson as well as Hull KR loanee Elliot Wallis all began the match on the bench.

Four trialists were included too with Alwyn Towse starting on the wing and Myles Harrison, Lewis Brown and Harry Bardle featuring from the bench.

It was Featherstone who were the quickest out of the blocks and they led after just over 10 minutes, following a series of attacks on the York line.

New addition Ben Blackmore was the scorer down the left wing – diving over by the flag – with the Rovers constantly targeting that area throughout the opening dozen minutes.

Dane Chisholm took the conversion from the touchline but his kick fell well short in both height and length.

The score seemed to kick York into life having not threatened Featherstone up until that point.

Sharp and Johnston were both tackled when looking narrowly close to making significant breaks, with the end of the set in which Johnston threatened culminating in his half-back partner Robinson being stopped metres short of the line.

That chance was as close as either came to adding to the scoreboard by the mid-point of the half.

A dropped ball from Dale Ferguson from Chisholm’s flat pass from close range was the best of the few chances.

By the quarter-mark of the match, the loudest cheer from the York fans came when Matty Marsh smashed into Chisholm, with the Rovers scrum-half dawdling on the ball from 15m out before knocking on.

The York full-back was one of the stand-out players in the opening 40 minutes and is akin to a third half-back for the Knights, such is his adeptness in the kicking department.

After half an hour, Will Jubb was held up though later in the set his pass saw the ball knocked on after hitting a team-mate.

York began to dominate the territory from then onwards and managed to strike in the final seconds of the half.

Johnston and Sharp made significant metres off their own line after Featherstone lost the ball in attack though the attack seemed to fizzle out when the ball went to ground close to the Rovers line.

The referee ruled the scrum in the Knights’ favour and Robinson seized on the decision, cleverly side-stepping his way through a gap in the line before applying the conversion – leaving the scores at 6-4 to York at the interval.

Featherstone errors had been their undoing in the first half, with numerous passes going to ground for the Rovers.

And they could so nearly have been ahead had a pass to a touchdown in the corner not been forward.

By contrast, York’s wingers were proving to be their best route towards the line.

A stunning break came through the middle from Wallis and he did well to hold onto the return pass as he linked up with Marsh.

The Hull KR loanee showed his powers of finishing too as he took a flick pass by Robinson before grounding in the corner in the face of pressure from three Rovers defenders.

Robinson landed a brilliant kick from the touchline to take the score to 12-4.

The number seven continued to cause problems as his kick created a goal-line drop-out and in the game’s latter stages seemingly another try as he laid on a touchdown for Joe Porter, though the referee saw an offence somewhere in the score.

Before that, the Rovers had their own glaring chance go awry. Sam Ottewell ran the ball into the corner but was incredibly denied by two Knights defenders.

With four minutes left, Featherstone got their score down the right side. James Beckett made a strong break cutting in from the left and Fev kept the ball alive for Ottewell to ground.

Minutes later, they were over again. After conceding a penalty from the restart, Featherstone raced down the right side once more, this time Jouffret was the scorer.

The game was level at 12-12 with Jouffret needing to land the kick, but, fortunately for the Knights, it drifted wide of the sticks.

Featherstone: Hall, Blackmore, Hardcastle, Worthington, Gale, Jouffret, Chisholm, Dupree, Bussey, Susino, Harrison, O’Connor, Ferguson.

Subs (all used): Sweeting, Wright, Ottewell, Beckett, Spence, Richardson, French, Lockwood, Whitton, McConnell, Wright, Waite-Pullan.

Tries: Blackmore (11), Ottewell (76), Jouffret (78)

Goals: Chisholm (0/1), Jouffret (0/2)

York: Marsh, Sharp, Salter, Bass, Towse, Johnston, Robinson, Teanby, Jubb, Baldwinson, Porter, Scott, Spears.

Subs (all used): Washbrook, Green, Clarkson, Stock, Wallis, Harrison, Brown, Bardle.

Tries: Robinson (40), Wallis (54)

Goals: Robinson (2/2)

Man of the Match: Connor Robinson. Provided the moments of quality with a neat try and a flicked assist for Elliot Wallis.

Referee: Kevin Moore.

Penalty count: 3-2

Attendance: Not given.