LACHLAN Walmsley was the star of the show as York Knights’ winless start to the Betfred Championship season continued with a 50-6 thrashing by title favourites Wakefield Trinity.

The Australian flyer crossed for a quartet of tries – bringing up his 100th career try in the process – on an afternoon in which Andrew Henderson’s depleted side were at times carved open at will at the LNER Community Stadium.

Further scores from Ky Rodwell, Josh Griffin and Mathieu Cozza put paid to the Knights’ bright start, with Connor Bailey’s try shortly before half time doing little to make a 30-6 scoreline more palatable.

York again started the second half well, but Wakefield’s quality shone through late on, with both Luke Gale and the impressive Max Jowitt also adding their names to the scoresheet.

But whilst Wakefield sit pretty at the top of the Championship table, the Knights are now the only team yet to get off the mark heading into the competition’s fifth round.

RECAP: York Knights 6-50 Wakefield Trinity

A combination of injuries and suspensions saw Henderson make five changes from last weekend’s late defeat at Barrow Raiders.

Youngsters Myles Harrison and AJ Towse took their places at centre and on the wing respectively, with Josh Daley replacing suspended captain Liam Harris, Harvey Reynolds coming into the second row, and Jacob Gannon being handed his second debut at prop after returning to the club on loan from Leigh Leopards.

Wakefield themselves were unable to field the 1-13 starting line-up from the sides’ previous meeting in the AB Sundecks 1895 Cup at the beginning of February, with Jermaine McGillvary, Liam Hood and former Heworth youngster Oli Pratt all absent.

The Knights made a bright start, with Wakefield’s kick-off flying out on the full before Ata Hingano’s grubber was batted away by Gale for the game’s first goal-line drop-out with just two minutes on the clock.

York Press: Jacob Gannon (left) was straight into the starting line-up after returning on loan from Leigh Leopards.Jacob Gannon (left) was straight into the starting line-up after returning on loan from Leigh Leopards. (Image: Craig Hawkhead)

Mason Lino was the next to see a kick fall victim to the wind, before Bailey forced Jowitt into a second drop-out, but a loose offload to Jordan Thompson spared Wakefield’s blushes.

Instead, it was the title favourites who opened the scoring with 11 minutes played, as despite keeping in Gale’s kick to the left corner, the Knights lost the ball from the next play, allowing Walmsley to stroll across just to the left of the posts.

Jowitt added the conversion and did so again four minutes later after Towse had conceded a drop-out, with slick hands seeing the ball worked left to Walmsley, who raced into the corner to double both his, and his side’s, tally.

That seemed to have sucker-punched the Knights after a strong opening 10 minutes, and they found themselves further behind as the half reached its midpoint, with an outrageous dummy from Rodwell seeing the home defence go one way and the prop the other as he raced from 30 metres to cross beneath the posts.

York were dealt another injury blow when Oli Field was forced from the field shortly after, seeing Gannon switch to the second row for the remainder.

Henderson’s side showed glimpses, bundling Jack Croft into touch as he looked to break down the left edge, but they could not take their chances.

Instead, two tries in five minutes saw Wakefield further eke out their lead.

First, Griffin, forced from the second row to left centre, broke through the defensive line to score to the left of the posts, before Jowitt’s short pass saw the Knights’ defence carved open, with the loose forward allowed to stroll over beneath the posts.

Jowitt converted both, putting Wakefield in cruise control with a 30-point lead.

York Press: Connor Bailey reacted quickest to Ata Hingano's grubber to score the Knights' only try.Connor Bailey reacted quickest to Ata Hingano's grubber to score the Knights' only try. (Image: Craig Hawkhead)

However, York had the last word before the interval, with Bailey quickest to react to Hingano’s grubber into the left corner to touch down as Trinity’s defenders stood still.

With Harris suspended, Harrison nailed a difficult touchline conversion to reduce the deficit to 30-6 at the hooter.

The Knights again started the better of the sides after the break, pressuring Griffin into a knock-on as he bore down on the line before Hingano’s 40/20 sent his side deep into the Wakefield half.

Hingano’s short kicks continued to cause havoc in the Trinity defence, winning consecutive drop-outs, but Conor Fitzsimmons could not cleanly collect the Tongan’s pass 10 metres from the line.

A seven-tackle set from Harvey Smith’s kick and chase also proved fruitless for Henderson’s side.

Wakefield eventually found a way through again just after the hour, as despite calls for a forward pass, slick hands down the left edge found Walmsley, who brought up his hat-trick with a diving finish into the corner.

Jowitt missed his first conversion of the afternoon, but made no mistake from his next opportunity a mere three minutes later, Griffin breaking through the line before feeding Gale, who turned on the afterburners to race from halfway to cross just to the right of the posts.

The flurry of tries continued with 10 minutes remaining, Croft bypassing defenders before feeding the supporting Jowitt to finish.

And there was still time for Walmsley to score his 100th career try four minutes from time with a characteristic flying finish into the left corner to bring up the half-century.

Jowitt again missed from the touchline, but that mattered little as the Knights’ wait for a first Championship win goes on.

Henderson’s side drop to the foot of the table ahead of a tough test at home to Bradford Bulls next Sunday (3pm).

YORK KNIGHTS: Brown, Towse, Harrison, Bailey, Lineham, Hingano, Daley, Ta’ai, Jubb, Gannon, Field, Reynolds, Thompson.

INTERCHANGES: Fitzsimmons, Teanby, Michael, Pemberton.

TRIES: Bailey (37)

GOALS: Harrison 1/1

WAKEFIELD TRINITY: Jowitt, Olpherts, Thornley, Croft, Walmsley, Gale, Lino, Bowden, Doyle, Rodwell, Ashurst, Griffin, Cozza.

INTERCHANGES: Kay, Uele, Vagana, Smith.

TRIES: Walmsley (11, 15, 63, 76), Rodwell (19), Griffin (26), Cozza (31), Gale (66), Jowitt (70)

GOALS: Jowitt 7/9

POINTS SEQUENCE: 0-4, 0-6, 0-10, 0-12, 0-16, 0-18, 0-22, 0-24, 0-28, 0-30, 4-30, 6-30, 6-34, 6-38, 6-40, 6-44, 6-46, 6-50.


YORK’S STAR MAN: Ata Hingano. A strong performance from the Tongan half-back, whose grubbers at time caused havoc for the Wakefield defence.

REFEREE: Tom Grant