YORK City Knights secured their first victory at Whitehaven since 1992 as they ran out as convincing 40-16 winners at the LEL Arena.

As in the last meeting between the two sides here in the Betfred Challenge Cup in March, which Whitehaven won 38-12, the match was over as a contest by half time.

An exceptional performance in both attack and defence had York up 30-0 at the mid-point, a particularly pleasing fact for the Knights given their recent first-half struggles, having trailed at the break in their last four matches.

And while head coach James Ford was keen to play down the significance of the club’s 30-year draught at the old-school Cumbrian ground, to have negotiated such a traditionally tough away day with such relative ease with have pleased him greatly.

Even more satisfying for York was the move a point behind second-placed Featherstone Rovers in the Betfred Championship as the Flatcappers fell to a 28-20 defeat to Batley Bulldogs.

Ford and his players though insist that improving their own performances is their main focus and that objective was most certainly achieved in a win that saw York produce their best seen since the steely 30-18 win at play-off rivals Barrow Raiders, who are next up for the Knights at the LNER Community Stadium.

At Whitehaven though, York made the dream start and found themselves the beneficiaries of some Whitehaven ill-discipline as the hosts conceded a penalty and a couple of six-agains inside the first five minutes.

The latter of those was on the last tackle on their own line and saw Will Jubb and Jordan Thompson combine in typical style, with the former dropping off for the latter to crash under the sticks.

More pressure was ploughed on Haven when Liam Harris’s chip-and-chase won a goal-line drop-out from which Jamie Ellis dummied his way over.

Ellis twice converted - the first of six successful goal kicks - but found his in-game kicking tougher, finding to touch on the last and seeing kick charged down inside the first dozen minutes.

Half-back partner Harris was having greater joy as his grubber was knocked-on by Ryan King on his own line and, straight from the scrum, the stand-off threw a glorious cut-out pass to allow AJ Towse to dive in at the corner.

Towse doubled his personal tally for the afternoon with an acrobatic finish in the left corner, profiting from a neat Chris Clarkson pass.

The winger then dropped debutante Cesar Rouge’s kick as Whitehaven enjoyed a strong end to the half, although without being able to post any points.

Perry Singleton was put in touch, Jubb fielded a Nikau Williams short kick and the overlapping Dave Eccleston was stopped short in the corner.

York though hit back with a sucker-blow as Bailey Antrobus intercepted and raced the length of the field to bring up an unassailable 30-0 lead at the break.

As in the first half, a pair of six-agains and a penalty allowed an early score, though this came from Whitehaven as Rouge’s cut-out pass put Eccleston in at the corner, with the assister adding the extras.

Haven struggled to build on that impetus as part of an error-strewn first quarter of an hour in which both sides failed to create any momentum.

After Harris was tip-tackled, the Knights produced a rare moment of quality in the second half as a sharp shift to the right allowed Joe Brown to touch down by the flag.

Whitehaven did at least manage to salvage some pride at a late try. The bounce of the ball favoured Haven from Rouge’s grubber and King was the quickest to react and ground.

York hit through interchange Brendan O’Hagan marked his return from injury with a fabulous dummy try straight the middle of Whitehaven’s defence, having earlier jinked through but seen fellow returning talent Levi Edwards knock on his kick. With Ellis off the field, Harris converted.

There remained time left for King to complete his double for Whitehaven in the final minute however.

The Italian international second-row scythed through York’s line unchallenged from the play-the-ball 10m out. Rouge cut the gap with another conversion yet the final result was long beyond any doubt.

Whitehaven: Broadbent, Bulman, Evans, Singleton, Eccleston, Rouge, Williams, McAvoy, Robb, Graham, King, Le Cam, Wilkinson.

Subs (all used): T. Walker, Cooper, Aiye, Bradley.

Tries: Eccleston (43’), King (71’)

Goals: Williams (0/1), Rouge (2/2)

York: Marsh, Brown, Glover, Edwards, Towse, Harris, Ellis, Matongo, Jubb, Pauli, Clarkson, Antrobus, Thompson.

Subs (all used): O’Hagan, Teanby, Dixon, Stock.

Tries: Thompson (5’), Ellis (8’), Towse (17’, 30’), Antrobus (37’), Brown (59’), O’Hagan (74’)

Goals: Ellis (5/6), Harris (1/1)

York’s star man: AJ Towse. Took his two tries nicely and defended with maturity beyond his years.

Referee: James Vella

Attendance: Not given

Penalties/Six-agains: 9-7

Goal-line drop-outs: 0-1