BEN COCKAYNE reckons he and his new York City Knights team left his old stomping ground with heads held high after a day to remember for the veteran performer.

Cockayne made his Knights bow against former club Hull Kingston Rovers at KCOM Craven Park on Sunday, in what was a testimonial in his honour.

Rovers, whom Cockayne helped to get promoted back to Super League last year, won 28-6, having built a 22-0 lead in the first period when fielding largely a top-flight line-up.

But the 34-year-old, having enjoyed going up against old mates, reckoned there were plenty of positives, too, for his new League One team, especially as they drew the second half, albeit ending the game against a much-changed predominantly young Robins side.

The match ended fittingly, too, as he scored the last points of the day when converting Harry Carter's late try.

“I enjoyed it,” Cockayne said of the game. "It was nice to have a run-out and there was a good turn-out.

“I thought their class showed a lot in the first half and we did not do ourselves any favours when turning the ball over cheaply.

“But I think we can walk out of that if not with our fists pumping but with pride that we did not do too bad.

“I think we showed a bit of resilience when Rovers had breakaway chances and we scrambled well. We’ve got the makings of a really good side."

Cockayne, who started at full-back on Sunday before switching to the wing during the second half, has spent the bulk of his career as a full-time professional in Super League, mainly with Hull KR either side of a spell at Wakefield. He remains a big fan favourite at Craven Park.

But he also had a short stint at Featherstone in 2011 and gained more knowledge of the part-time game last season as KR, following relegation in 2016, topped the Championship and bounced straight back to the top flight via a stunning run in the Super 8s.

“There were stubborn teams in the Championship last year and I expect it to be the same in League One," he said, having decided to stave off retirement to help the Knights in their promotion challenge in the third tier.

Cockayne, meanwhile, expects "one or two" of his former club-mates at Hull KR will be playing alongside him at York this year, in addition to veteran forward Graeme Horne, Aussie centre Jake Butler-Fleming and hooker Will Jubb, who have all likewise made a permanent switch from Craven Park.

The partnership between York and the Robins, like last year, will see the Knights getting the option to field further Rovers squadmen on dual-registration, although Cockayne said the borrowing club would not lose their own autonomy.

“Maybe one or two Rovers boys will come over," he said.

“James Ford (Knights boss) will pick his strongest side. He has made it clear to York that Rovers players will be available and if we’re not performing we won’t play but if we are performing we will play. You can’t say fairer than that.”