YORK KNIGHTS made it back-to-back victories for the first time this season with a 40-0 demolition of newly-promoted Swinton Lions in Round Five of the Betfred Championship this afternoon.

Andrew Henderson’s side were in control from the first minute until the last, building upon a 26-0 half-time score to claim their seventh victory in a row over the Sale-based outfit in front of a packed crowd at Heywood Road.

The sides headed into the tie occupying sixth and seventh place in the Championship table respectively, having won two and lost two of their opening four fixtures, but the gulf between the two teams was seismic.

It was all one-way traffic from the visitors, who nudged themselves in front after just two minutes through AJ Towse in a similarly rocket-fuelled start as their 28-14 victory over strugglers Barrow Raiders at the LNER Community Stadium last weekend.

Ata Hingano and Myles Harrison crossed the whitewash before the 15-minute mark, with the impressive Joe Brown then turning provider to try-scorer, running in two further scores in the opening half.

The second period rather lacked in comparison to the try-filled opening 40 minutes, with Swinton enjoying the lions’ share of possession, but they were unable to stop Josh Daley, Towse and Harrison from adding further gloss to the scoreline.

However, there could be further injury concerns for Henderson’s side this afternoon, with James Glover taking a knock to the back, former Leeds Rhinos centre Levi Edwards helped from the field late on with a knee injury, and Hingano limping to the dressing room after the match.

Henderson made two changes to his 18-man squad for today’s fixture, most notably handing a first start of the season to captain Chris Clarkson after his recovery from injury, in place of Danny Kirmond, who was suspended due to a striking charge against Toulouse Olympique in Round Three.

Irish international forward Ronan Michael was also instated back among the interchanges, having cleared the concussion protocol after failing a head injury assessment in France.

Swinton’s Allan Coleman opted for a blend of youth and experience in his side, including St Helens loanees Dan Hill, George Delaney and Lewis Baxter, alongside highly experienced winger Mike Butt, who failed in his quest for his 100th career try this afternoon.

The pitch contained a mixture of rugby league and rugby union lines, which proved at times confusing for both sets of players, but the result was never in doubt for Henderson’s side.

Fans barely had time to find their places on the terraces before the Knights opened the scoring at a chilly Heywood Road, with the ball worked along the line through Hingano and Liam Harris towards Towse, who dived over into the corner to open the scoring in just the second minute.

Glover’s conversion was put wide from the tee, the first of four missed kicks this afternoon.

But the centre was successful from his second effort just three minutes later.

Ex-North Wales Crusaders half-back Jordan Gibson was only able to put in a weak challenge on his opposite number Hingano, who rolled onto his back before touching the ball down to double the Knights’ advantage.

Towse thought that he had his second try of the afternoon eight minutes into the tie, but he was ruled to have gone into touch.

However, York soon found the whitewash again, former Heworth youngster Harrison crossing for his second try in as many games from the right wing as his side rolled through the gears.

Jordan Thompson was held up by the Swinton defence before the ball was worked to Brown, who was easily able to find Harrison to stroll over into the right corner. Glover made no mistake from the tee.

It took until the 26th minute for Swinton to create their first move of note after capitalising on some poor defending from a high kick, but the grubber that followed was well shepherded out by York.

Instead, the visitors ran in their fourth try just two minutes later, Brown capitalising on a mistake from full-back Dan Abram to cross into space down the right, with Glover again failing to add the extras.

York notched the pick of the tries on the stroke of half time, rounding off the scoring before the interval with a routine straight off the training ground.

Half-backs Harris and Hingano, whose partnership is flourishing, were again influential, with the latter sending a sublime flicked reverse pass to Brown to race through to the left of the sticks. The conversion was an easy one for Glover, leaving the Knights with a 26-0 advantage.

Swinton came out fighting after the interval, but saw their fragile defence breached after just four minutes.

Australian hooker Daley, who was praised by Henderson for his impact from among the interchanges last weekend, found himself on the scoreboard after burrowing over from close range after collecting a pass from Jack Teanby, the successful kick from Glover leaving the hosts with a long way back into the tie.

Towse was over for his second eight minutes later, Edwards turning provider with a simple pass for the young winger to cross, before Glover fired well wide from the tee.

The Knights were temporarily down to 12 men when Glover was the victim of a big hit with 25 minutes to go, though he was able to return to the field five minutes later.

Swinton came back into the tie as the Knights were penalised for a high tackle, and then a forward pass, but Henderson’s outfit completed the rout eight minutes from time.

Hill, on loan from Betfred Super League heavyweights St Helens, was penalised for a knock-on in front of the sticks, with York moving the ball to the right flank for Harrison to cross for his second of the afternoon without a Swinton man in sight.

With Glover off the field, it was Harris who floated the resulting conversion wide.

The visitors again found themselves down to 12 men when Edwards was carried from the field by the physios with a suspected knee injury, but they were able to maintain their clean sheet, something that is no mean feat in the Championship.

The Knights are next in action against NCL outfit West Bowling in the third round of the Betfred Challenge Cup at the LNER Community Stadium on Sunday (3pm), in a match that should give Henderson a chance to rotate his squad.

SWINTON LIONS: Abram, Butt, Hill, Badrock, Spedding, Lowe, Gibson, Cooper, Gregson, Delaney, Lloyd, Cox, Brogan.

INTERCHANGES: Romeo, Burgess, Baker, Baxter

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

INTERCHANGES: Kirby, Michael, Daley, Teanby

TRIES: Towse (2, 52), Hingano (5), Harrison (15, 75), Brown (28,38), Daley (44)

GOALS: Glover 4/7, Harris 0/1

POINTS SEQUENCE: 0-4, 0-8, 0-10, 0-14, 0-16, 0-20, 0-24, 0-26, 0-30, 0-32, 0-36, 0-40.


YORK’S STAR MAN: Joe Brown. The stand-in full-back was sensational this afternoon, and was more than good value for his two scores.


REFEREE: Cameron Worsley (Sheffield)