YORK Knights bounced back from last weekend’s disappointing defeat to Batley Bulldogs in style to record a 10-24 victory at London Broncos on their return to Betfred Championship action this afternoon.

It was by no means a vintage performance from either side at a wet and windy Cherry Red Records Stadium, with unforced errors aplenty in the pouring rain, but the boot of experienced half-back Liam Harris set the Knights on their way to a fourth consecutive league victory.

After kick-off was delayed by 20 minutes due to their late arrival, York made a horror start to concede after just four minutes but rallied to give themselves a slender two-point advantage at the interval, before controlling proceedings to nil their hosts in a defensively strong second-half performance.

RECAP: London Broncos 10-24 York Knights

Whilst head coach Andrew Henderson remains firmly focused in taking things one game at a time, the result now sees York remain ninth, but just three points outside of the play-off places, and four above nearest challengers Whitehaven.

However, the Knights did not manage to make it through the match unscathed, with captain Chris Clarkson withdrawn after suffering a rib injury during the early stages of the first half, and Cunningham with a head knock after the interval.

Henderson made one change to his Knights line-up, with Italian prop Brenden Santi returning after being cup-tied for last weekend’s AB Sundecks 1895 Cup Final in place of the injured Bailey Antrobus.

That saw Tongan half-back Ata Hingano return to the starting 13 to partner Harris, and the versatile James Cunningham move out of the halves and to hooker.

Mike Eccles also opted to make changes to his London side following their Semi Final defeat to Halifax Panthers, with former Wakefield Trinity and Warrington Wolves prop Robert Butler reinstated back in the starting line-up, whilst second rower Ethan Natoli, who had scored in the reverse fixture in May, was named among the interchanges.

The Knights made a terrible start to proceedings after a mix-up between Hingano and AJ Towse saw them concede a goal-line drop out inside the opening 20 seconds, but the hosts were unable to profit, instead forcing the turnover 10 metres from the York line.

But Henderson’s side failed to regroup and found themselves behind just four minutes into the contest when loose forward Dean Parata collected a short pass, cutting inside and bursting forward from 15 metres to cross to the left of the posts, before former NRL half-back Corey Norman added the extras.

However, for as poor as York’s handling had been, so was London’s, as the ball became likened to a bar of soap in the worsening conditions.

An error from Irish prop Lewis Bienek presented the Knights with a glorious opportunity to get themselves onto the scoresheet three minutes later, with Oli Field collecting a short pass from Hingano before skipping through an attempted tackle from centre Jarred Bassett to score his fourth try of the season.

Both sides continued to struggle in the downpour, with Conor Fitzsimmons and Towse conceding goal-line dropouts, and Clarkson and London half-back Henry Raiwalui forced off through injury.

It was the Knights who found themselves in front for the first time midway through the half after a defensive horror show from the hosts allowed Fitzsimmons to run onto a perfectly weighted Harris grubber, the half-back then firing his side into a four-point advantage.

York Press: Prop Conor Fitzsimmons collected Liam Harris' grubber before diving over the line.Prop Conor Fitzsimmons collected Liam Harris' grubber before diving over the line. (Image: Craig Hawkhead)

And Harris made no mistake to again fire between the posts 10 minutes later after a dangerous low tackle from ex-Knight Marcus Stock 10 metres from his line.

However, it was London who had the last word less than a minute before the interval after a stunning team try saw them win the ball back on the Knights’ 10-metre line, eventually releasing Cook Islands winger Paul Ulberg, who fought off both Towse and Joe Brown to cross into the right corner.

Unbelievably, Norman’s conversion bounced off both posts and wide to see his side trail 10-12 at the break.

York almost made a dream start to the second half when Broncos captain Will Lovell fumbled Harris’ kick off, but Jason Bass was brought down inches short of the line after being played in by Jesse Dee.

But the winger made no mistake from his next opportunity, collecting Dee’s right-side shift before cutting inside and diving across the line just four minutes after the interval.

The Knights were dealt another injury blow when Cunningham was sent for a head injury assessment after being knocked out with half an hour remaining, but despite losing his calmness in the middle of the field, they regrouped to deny both Lovell and Leigh Leopards loanee Jacob Gannon.

Veteran forward Ukuma Ta’ai then showed his class with a fantastic drive to bring the visitors to within 10 metres of the line before being fouled, Harris extending York’s lead to eight points after converting the resultant penalty on the hour mark.

York Press: Liam Harris scored two penalties in a Man of the Match performance.Liam Harris scored two penalties in a Man of the Match performance. (Image: Craig Hawkhead)

London looked to profit from both a knock-on by Fitzsimmons deep within his own half and a fumble from Jordan Thompson, but found their final phase of play lacking, the Knights able to relieve the pressure on both occasions.

Instead, the visitors sealed a fantastic victory with six minutes remaining after Hingano was tackled off the ball 40 metres from the line, interchange hooker Will Jubb marking his 150th career appearance with a try after dummying across from close range, with Harris again on target from the tee.

Any London efforts from successive penalties inside the dying seconds proved to be in vain, with the Knights good value for their fourth successive Championship victory, ahead of a tough test against Toulouse Olympique at the LNER Community Stadium on Saturday evening (6pm).  

LONDON BRONCOS: Walker, Ulberg, Bassett, Whare, Macani, Raiwalui, Norman, Bienek, Davis, Butler, Lovell, Gannon, Parata.

INTERCHANGES: Davies, Stock, Williams, Natoli.

TRIES: Parata (4), Ulberg (39)

GOALS: Norman 1/2

YORK KNIGHTS: Brown, Bass, Clarkson, Dee, Towse, Hingano, Harris, Santi, Cunningham, Michael, Field, Kirmond, Fitzsimmons.

INTERCHANGES: Jubb, Thompson, Teanby, Ta’ai.

TRIES: Field (7), Fitzsimmons (21), Bass (44), Jubb (74)

GOALS: Harris 4/6

POINTS SEQUENCE: 4-0, 6-0, 6-4, 6-8, 6-10, 6-12, 10-12, 10-16, 10-18, 10-22, 10-24.

HALF TIME: 10-12

YORK’S STAR MAN: Liam Harris. A solid afternoon from the tee from the half-back, as well as a fantastic kicking game throughout.

REFEREE: Mike Smaill