TIM SPEARS expressed his pride at reaching 400 career appearances, but insisted that he was more pleased to have beaten Rochdale Hornets at the weekend.

The York City Knights captain started in the 70-12 victory over Rochdale in the fifth round Coral Challenge Cup tie to reach the remarkable landmark.

Spears, 35, made his professional debut back in 2003 for Castleford Tigers and has been a consistent feature of domestic rugby league during spells at Dewsbury Rams, Batley Bulldogs, Featherstone Rovers and York.

The Knights skipper stressed that securing progress to the sixth round round was more important than any personal accomplishment.

“It’s something that crept up on me and I didn’t know about it until Thursday,” he said.

“I think it’s a fair achievement and something that I am proud of.

“But, equally I was keen to get the job done in the game because I think that we needed a good performance.

“I’m pleased with that result more than anything else.

“The 400 thing is great and it’s something that I will look back on with pride when I’m a bit older.

“There aren’t that many players that reach that many games.

“But, it was about getting a good performance. To get a scoreline like that on my 400th appearance, it was the icing on the cake.”

The York players created a guard of honour for Spears before he entered the field at the Millennium Stadium.

“That was a nice touch,” he said. “The boys offered that up and I really appreciate it.

“But, I didn’t want it to distract from our performance and from what was an important game for us for a number of reasons.

“It was important for us to gain some confidence and getting our combinations going.

“I didn’t want it to derail or detract from any of that stuff, which I don’t think it did.”

Given how tough Spears plays the game through the middle of the York forward pack, the achievement is particularly impressive.

He praised the work done by the backroom staff at the club.

“I’m going alright,” he said of his current fitness. “The coaching staff and medical staff here at York do a tremendous job.

“We work pretty hard, but we work smartly as well. We don’t just run for running’s sake, everything we do is intense, but it’s got a purpose.

“I think that they manage us quite well across the team really.

“My body feels good and I’m still enjoying my rugby, so long may that continue.”

York ran in 13 tries against Rochdale and Spears highlighted the "80 minute performance" produced by the team as a major positive.

“I’m really pleased with the performance," he said. "To get 70 points is a fair achievement against any opposition.

“I think that when you look at Rochdale’s playing squad, they’ve got some great individuals and some tricky ones too.

“Watching the video on them, we know that they’re a good team.

“We’re really pleased to have done an 80-minute team performance and to get 70 points is a fair old effort.

“It's a big step forward for us and in all honesty, I think it’s one that has been coming for a few weeks now.

“And I think that on a decent day and on a big field, things have fallen for us finally."

Attack has been one area of struggle for York thus far in 2020, with their four Betfred Championship matches seeing them score just 26 points, albeit against quality opposition.

To score 70 points in a match should boost the spirits of the York offence, Spears thinks.

“It does give us confidence," he said.

"Confidence has remained throughout the playing group but it certainly gets a further boost when you’re able to put 13 tries on the board.

"It does make you feel good.

“And certainly for our pivotal players, who are making decisions on three-vs-two or whether to play it short or play it long, it’s got to stand us in good stead and those individuals in good stead because they made so many good decisions.

“They opened Rochdale up and got us plenty of points on the board."