YORK City Knights are 160 minutes away from Wembley after a reasonably comfortable 30-16 victory over Newcastle Thunder in the second round of the 1895 Cup at Bootham Crescent.

Junior Vaivai was again the star of the show, just like in the win at Widnes last week when he scored one try and created the winner.

This time the Hull KR loanee created two, on both occasions helping the Knights hit back quickly after falling behind, and then scored one to give them a half-time lead they never looked likely to relinquish on the resumption.

The American international was duly withdrawn 10 minutes from time, to save him for next week’s big Championship clash with Toulouse, with the chant “We’ve got Junior” ringing around the Main Stand.

It will no doubt be a popular tune for the remainder of his time with the Knights – which, to be fair, is unlikely to be longer than his initial one-month spell given this form.

This was not quite a straightforward win, with League One outfit Newcastle showing plenty of ability in the first half especially, but they could not handle their hosts whenever the pace lifted, or was allowed to lift by referee Mick Bennett.

James Ford’s men thus moved into the last eight of the new competition, the final of which will be held at the national stadium on Challenge Cup final day. The quarter-final draw will be on Friday after the midweek ties.

Ford made five changes to the side that beat Widnes, with key packman Graeme Horne and Sam Scott along with ace centre Liam Salter all resting niggles for Toulouse, Perry Whiteley dropped and on-loan Harry Aldous not allowed to play against his parent club.

Into the pack ranks came Michael Kelly, Jack Blagbrough and Leeds loanee Tyler Dupree, and into the right-hand side of the back line came Jason Bass and Kevin Brown.

Newcastle were without ex-York captain Jack Aldous, as well as French half-back Remy Marginet, but did have fellow former Knights Tyler Craig, long-serving Rhys Clarke and Aussie former NRL prop Joel Edwards in their starting 13.

Backs Lewis Young and veteran Misi Taulapapa were obvious dangermen.

It was their side who had the edge early on with Edwards and fellow prop Carne Doyle-Manga, the Cook Islands international, showing up well with good ball play as well as power.

They profited from a fumble by Will Jubb to open the scoring, Evan Simons getting on the end of a short-range grubber by hooker Keal Carlile at the end of the resultant set.

However, Edwards blotted his copybook with a spill in the next set and, from the scrum, York shifted the ball as quick as possible to Vaivai. He drew in defenders and got a quick pass out to fellow Hull KR loanee Will Oakes, who sprinted home.

“Get the ball to Junior” is a clear and obvious tactic.

York failed to profit from an error by Doyle-Manga but they should have scored after brilliant footwork by Brown got him through the line.

That brilliance was coupled with frustration, though, when the young winger did not give a straightforward scoring pass to the supporting Matty Marsh and was tackled.

When more nice footwork was followed by a loose pass in the next set, York’s on-pitch generals each had their own words of advice for the youngster.

Thunder retook the lead on the half-hour through Conor Fitzsimmons after a defensive mistake from Jason Bass, shifting too far to his right and allowing the second-row to beat him to his left.

On-loan Hull KR youngster Mikey Lewis - forming a teenage half-back pairing with the homegrown Dan Coates - took over the goalkicking and made it 10-4.

However, again York hit back and again it was created through Vaivai.

Breaking the line again, the American international had his shirt desperately held by a defender but had the wherewithal and skill to hand on to the onrushing Marsh - up in support again - and he in turn gave the scoring pass to sub Kriss Brining.

York immediately upped the pace and took the lead bang on half-time – through that man Vaivai.

Robinson created it with a perfect kick in goal, with Vaivai timing his run to touch down.

He also injured himself but, after a chat with assistant-coach Chris Spurr and the club doctor on the pitch at half-time, he re-emerged for the second half.

The 16-10 interval lead increased five minutes into the second period after some excellence from Brining, creating gaps in centre-field, seeing them and going into them before sending the excellent Marsh flying home, despite the attentions of the pacey Lewis.

Vaivai blotted his copybook with a fumble and Thunder nearly hit back as former Heworth junior Craig superbly created a chance for his winger, Alex Clegg, but the scrambling defence got back and prevented the touchdown.

On recovering possession near their own line, an excellent set, with Vaivai again prominent, ended with a close-range penalty with which Robinson put his side three scores ahead, at 24-10.

Referee Mick Bennett hadn’t hitherto endeared himself to home fans due largely to painfully slow rucks, and he became the centre of ire with two quickfire calls midway through the final quarter.

Firstly a Thunder grubber kick in the red zone ricocheted off ankles before Oakes picked up and set off upfield – only for Bennett to call him back for offside.

Then on the opposite flank, with Newcastle again eyeing the line, Liam Harris emerged with the ball from a ruck and sprinted 100 metres to the other end, showing superb pace with team-mates and opponents alike giving chase.

However, on the advice of a touch judge, Bennett awarded Thunder a penalty all the way back at David Longhurst Stand end for a ball steal.

The visitors, nevertheless, could find no way through the home defence and when Vaivai was on hand to intercept a pass close to his own line, their chances were gone and the New Zealand-born ace’s day was done.

It was left to his replacement, Marcus Stock, to lift the crowd next with some delightful footwork back up the other end to beat two men and then a third with a stretch to the whitewash.

If it hadn't already been game over, it was then, at 30-10, with Young's late try - a lovely sidestepping finish at pace - no more than consolation.