ANDREW Henderson was left signing the praises of York Knights' attacking play after yesterday's record-breaking 114-10 triumph at Newcastle Thunder - but was disappointed by the manner in which his side conceded.

Despite seeing their slow start punished by Danny White just three minutes into proceedings, the Knights soon found their flow to ensure the highest opening day points haul in history in the AB Sundecks 1895 Cup opener.

Back-rower Connor Bailey was the standout on his return to the club for whom he departed for York during the off-season, whilst fellow new recruit Will Dagger looked every inch a Super League player, scoring a hat-trick and eight conversions after having been at the heart of much of his side's attacking flair.

2023 top-scorer AJ Towse also kicked off his season with a second-half treble, whilst Joe Brown, Nikau Williams, Harvey Reynolds, Liam Harris, Jesse Dee, Conor Fitzsimmons, Jordan Thompson and Oli Field also found the whitewash on a rampant afternoon for the Knights.

But James Snowden ensured that a resilient Newcastle had the last word on the hooter.

Having maintained that the afternoon was about his side putting their work on the training pitch into action, Henderson was delighted by York's attack, with his side scoring almost every time that they went forward.


"If you're looking at the scoreline, I think that it's a clinical performance overall," he enthused.

"It's no mean feat to score 100 plus points against any team at any level, so I've got to commend our team and our players for the way that we attacked with the ball. I think that we played smart, I thought that we executed some good skill, and that we played at the right times.

"I thought that Will Jubb, especially around the ruck, was very crafty at picking which way to go and making some really good decisions around that. I liked how our middles were playing nice and direct, and working in sync with each other really, really well, and the pivotal players linked up really well as well.

"I thought that overall, attack-wise, we were very, very clinical."

York Press: New signings Will Dagger, Connor Bailey and Nikau Williams all scored on their Knights debuts.New signings Will Dagger, Connor Bailey and Nikau Williams all scored on their Knights debuts. (Image: Craig Hawkhead)

Chris Thorman had just three training sessions with a young Thunder consisting mainly of Gateshead Storm amateurs and university students before the tie, but York were left shocked when White barged over from close range, profiting from a Thompson error in just their second set of the match.

It had been far too easy for Newcastle to break apart the Knights' try-line defence, and they came close to making a similar start to the second half when Williams let the kick-off slip through his fingers, but Dagger put his body on the line to keep the hosts out.

A penalty again proved York's undoing within the final minute as the pressure told for Snowden to cross into the left corner, with Henderson left disappointed with the manner in which his side conceded.

"At the start of the game, it just seemed like we hadn't got off the bus. We had a really lethargic start, I should say.

"We kicked off, defended the first set, and then they found touch. I could just see that our attitude, we were just ambling and walking back. There was no urgency to get back and get the game restarted. As a result, we come up with an error off Thommo, and we were punished for it.

"I just thought that it was a really slow start from us, disappointing to be honest, but we managed to turn that around and get a bit of flow and a bit of rhythm back in our game, which was good.

"At the start of the second half, we make another error off the kick-off, I thought that it was a similar sort of start again, but we managed to get the flow and rhythm.

"We switched off there again on that last play right on the final hooter. I know we were down to 12 men for the last five minutes when we ran out of substitutes, so we played the last five with 12, but we still should have been good enough to defend that play.

"We're disappointed by the two tries that we conceded and the manner in which we conceded them, but I think that in terms of what we did with the ball, it was pretty good."