YORK KNIGHTS made it back-to-back wins in front of their home crowd with a 28-14 victory over winless Barrow Raiders at the LNER Community Stadium this afternoon.

Myles Harrison opened the scoring inside the first minute for York, with Jesse Dee, returning to the back row after more than holding his own alongside Liam Harris in the halves, also crossing the whitewash before the interval.

Barrow pulled themselves level at the break after taking advantage of Jon Luke Kirby’s yellow card but it wasn’t to be for the Cumbrians, with Kirby, the returning Ata Hingano and Joe Brown rounding off the scoring five minutes from time.

The Knights have had a mixed start to the new Betfred Championship season, with losses against Widnes Vikings and Toulouse Olympique sandwiching an impressive 32-16 demolition of Bradford Bulls two weeks ago.

But it wasn’t all plain sailing for York this afternoon against a Barrow side desperate to claim their first win of the season, with errors and ill-discipline preventing the winning margin from being greater.

Head coach Andrew Henderson named a much-changed line-up from the Knights’ 36-0 loss at Toulouse Olympique last weekend, most notably including half-back Hingano in the starting line-up following his return from an injury suffered against Batley Bulldogs in pre-season.

Experienced duo James Glover and Jordan Thompson also returned to the side after missing the trip to France due to personal reasons, the latter receiving a guard of honour and walking out with his children ahead of making his 300th appearance in senior rugby.

Australian hooker Josh Daley was also instated back among the interchanges after serving a one-match suspension for a Grade C dangerous throw against Widnes Vikings on the opening weekend, and certainly made his presence off the bench felt.

Henderson’s side made a dream start to the tie, taking the lead with just 45 seconds on the clock.

Collecting the kick-off, the Knights drove forward, with the ball worked to Brown on the right wing to feed Harrison, who crossed unchallenged into the corner.

From the touchline, the conversion proved too much for Glover to add the extras.

The right flank was proving fruitful for the Knights, with the ball twice aimed towards Harrison in the 10 minutes that followed, but the young winger couldn’t hold onto the passes that came his way.

Instead, it was Barrow who wrestled themselves back onto level terms, with Amir Bourouh, on loan from Betfred Super League outfit Salford Red Devils, somehow finding space to bundle over and level the scores in a lively opening 13 minutes.

Stand-off Jarrod Sammut, the obvious bright spark for the strugglers, made no mistake to convert the score, giving his side a narrow two-point margin.

Harris and Hingano, rekindling their partnership for the first time competitively this season, caused Barrow real problems in the halves, with the latter setting up Dee to restore the Knights’ advantage with 28 minutes on the clock.

Glover was faced with a kick on the touchline from a similar position to the opening try, but he curled the ball expertly between the sticks, setting the tone for the remainder of his kicks to all clear the bar.

Harrison came close to extending the Knights’ advantage soon after when Henderson’s expansive style of rugby again left him free down the flank, but he couldn’t take the ball cleanly.

Sammut’s attempted kick-chase was gathered by former Heworth youngster AJ Towse three minutes later, leading to a scuffle, with Kirby sent to the sidelines for his part in the fracas and leaving the Knights to close out the half with 12 men.

And Barrow took advantage of that immediately, Shane Toal finding space to cross the whitewash in the left corner to level the scores.

With Sammut’s conversion leaving a lot to be desired, nothing could separate the sides at the interval.

The visitors started the better of the sides after the interval, with only a sensational tackle from former Leeds Rhinos centre Levi Edwards preventing Sammut from racing away with the ball after the Knights had fumbled a simple pass.

But Kirby’s return to the field brought an instant impact, with the forward running off the shoulder of Hingano, who had broken through the Barrow defence, to touch down beneath the posts.

Glover was handed a simple task, making no mistake from the tee to give his side a six-point advantage.

And just four minutes later, the Tonga international marked his return to action with a try.

The Knights were handed a repeat set close to the Barrow line, with Harris executing a mazy run through the centre of the defence to put Hingano through with a simple finish. Glover again made no mistake to add the extras.

Sammut proved to be a thorn in York’s side throughout the second period, winning a kick-chase before Luke Cresswell was tackled after receiving the resulting pass, before he won the ball back for his side on their 30-metre line after an error from Dee.

And the pressure would pay off for Barrow, with Toal hardly able to believe his luck after being left in acres of space on the left wing to stroll into the corner to bring the scores within eight.

Towse won the Knights a penalty with 10 minutes remaining after a high tackle, but the resulting play was sloppy from his side, with a loose pass gifting the visitors back possession on their 30.

Just four minutes later, Henderson’s side made sure that the points would remain in North Yorkshire with Brown crossing for the pick of the tries.

The young full back was the first to Sammut’s kick, with nobody able to catch him as he raced almost the full length of the pitch to touch down. Glover’s kick just squeezed the right side of the posts to give his side a 28-14 advantage.

That proved to be the last action of the game, seeing the Knights make it back-to-back wins at the LNER Community Stadium and move up to eighth place as one of five teams on four points.

Henderson’s side are next in action at newly-promoted Swinton Lions on Sunday (3pm), with the sides heading into the tie with identical records.

YORK KNIGHTS: Brown, Towse, Edwards, Glover, Harrison, Hingano, Harris, Antrobus, Jubb, Fitzsimmons, Dee, Kirmond, Thompson.

INTERCHANGES: Kirby, Daley, Teanby, Barnard, Ward.

TRIES: Harrison (1), Dee (28), Kirby (51), Hingano (55), Brown (75)

GOALS: Glover 4/5

BARROW RAIDERS: Cresswell, Bulman, Worthington, Corkill, Toal, Sammut, Johnston, Wells, Bourouh, Iaria, Langtree, Greenwood, Stack.

INTERCHANGES: Burke, Gillam, Evans, Archer, Broadbent.

TRIES: Bourouh (13), Toal (38, 65)

GOALS: Sammut 1/3

POINTS SEQUENCE: 4-0, 4-4, 4-6, 8-6, 10-6, 10-10, 14-10, 16-10, 20-10, 22-10, 22-14, 26-14, 28-14.

HALF TIME: 10-10

YORK’S STAR MAN: ATA HINGANO. The Tonga international capped off an impressive return to the Knights starting line-up with a try and two assists, and it’s nice to see the partnership between himself and Liam Harris continue to flourish in the halves.


REFEREE: Scott Mikalauskas