YORK City Knights head into the Betfred Championship play-off quarter-finals on the back of their biggest win of the year after thrashing Workington Town 74-12.

Workington made the dream start, opening the scoring inside a couple of minutes, and while they made it a two-point game after half an hour, they would ultimately prove no match for York, who ran in 10 unanswered and converted tries, finishing with a total of 13 four-pointers.

The Knights now face a trip to third-placed Halifax Panthers in the play-offs next weekend, following the 30-20 win for Barrow Raiders at London Broncos, which consigned York to a regular season finish of sixth.

James Ford’s side will have to be at their best to be able to push close a Halifax team which have already convincingly completed the double over York.

They will no doubt be able to take huge confidence from their biggest victory of the season though and having surpassed 50 points for the first time this year, particularly after some question marks arising over their attack over the past month or so.

With that said, it is important to recognise that improvements, perhaps significant ones, will still need to be made, given the step-up in calibre from an already-relegated Workington with just one league win to their name this year, to Halifax, a genuine credible contender for a Grand Final spot.

Regardless, it was hard not to draw plenty of positives from this display, which saw York find a potent attacking streak after seeing three of their last four wins coming by just single-digit margins.

To do so with a side down to the bare bones injury-wise will be especially pleasing too.

Ford made three changes from the side which narrowly edged past Newcastle Thunder 24-18 at Kingston Park last time out.

Injured trio Ronan Dixon, Bailey Antrobus and Ata Hingano dropped out, with Brad Ward, Joe Porter and Ben Barnard coming in, the latter, on trial from Heworth, making his first-team debut.

Barnard was one of four teenagers named in the 17 in a down-to-the-bare-bones York side, who were only able to name 19 players in their preliminary squad.

It was ill-discipline rather than inexperience that was to prove costly for the Knights during the early stages though, with a penalty conceded for a high shot in the match’s first play setting the tone.

Another penalty soon followed, giving Workington the field position for Malik Steele to crash over from close range.

Carl Forber added the first of two successful conversions from as many attempts.

The whistle-happy referee Michael Smaill then awarded York back-to-back penalties, putting Brendan O’Hagan in position for a grubber which Ronan Michael grounded. The Liam Harris conversion was good from in front of the posts, although his next two attempts were wide.

The half-back’s running game was far better however and, having earlier threatened to do so, he dummied through down the right flank.

Harris turned from scorer to provider when his short pass put a charging Kirmond through the line.

Workington remained well in the contest however as Ryan Scott finished off Jamie Doran’s step past Marcus Stock to leave Town just two points behind.

Those would be the last points that the Cumbrians would post though as the Knights ran in 10 converted and unanswered tries.

The first couple of those came successively before the break as Matty Marsh’s delayed pass put Joe Brown in at the corner before James Glover broke clear from halfway. Glover took the kicking duties from Harris and converted all of his following 10 attempts on goal.

York picked up from where they left off after the interval, scoring inside the first five minutes.

O’Hagan offloaded to Marsh, who flicked a pass to Harris for the half to bag his brace.

A couple of minutes later, Kirmond found a magnificent mid-air pass to Glover from O’Hagan’s cross-field kick and ran in around to behind the posts.

By now, the floodgates were well and truly open, with two more tries following in as many minutes.

Harris grubbered through for Joe Porter to score on his final York home appearance ahead of his retirement at the end of the year.

Then, debutant Barnard offloaded for Tom Inman, who chased down and finished his own kick ahead.

O’Hagan got his name on the scoresheet after an hour, his inside step fooling the Town defence, and the Australian’s sublime quick pass set up Harris’ hat-trick try with a dozen minutes to go.

The Knights never took their foot off the gas and closed out with another couple of scores in the final eight minutes.

Throwing the ball wide left from a scrum saw Chris Clarkson stroll over and, in the penultimate minute, Brown bagged his double, again finishing a scrum set-play, this time down the right.

York: Marsh, Brown, Glover, Ward, Towse, Harris, O’Hagan, Teanby, Jubb, Michael, Kirmond, Clarkson, Thompson.

Subs (all used): Stock, Porter, Inman, Barnard.

Tries: Michael (10’), Harris (15’, 45’, 68’), Kirmond (26’), Brown (37’, 78’), Glover (40’, 48’), Porter (51’), Inman (53’), O’Hagan (60’), Clarkson (72’)

Goals: Harris (1/3), Glover (10/10)

York’s star man: Danny Kirmond. Would have been easy to pick almost any of the 17, especially any of the try-scorers, but Kirmond’s effort and desire was there is spades and led York through some early difficult moments.

Workington: Bickerdike, Young, Brown, Thomas, Clegg, Doran, Forber, Scholey, Simons, Clarke, Steele, Fitzsimmons, O’Brien.

Subs (all used): Henson, Weetman, Hutchings, Scott.

Tries: Steele (3’), Scott (31’)

Goals: Forber (2/2)

Referee: Michael Smaill

Attendance: Not given

Penalties/Six-agains: 7-6

Goal-line drop-outs forced: 1-1