LIAM Harris and Joe Brown scored doubles as York Knights gained revenge for April’s gutting drop-goal defeat with a 54-12 hammering of Barrow Raiders at the LNER Community Stadium.

The Cumbrians never recovered from the Knights’ blistering start, with tries from captain Jarrad Stack and winger Andrew Bulman a mere consolation on an afternoon on which Mark Applegarth’s side recorded their biggest Betfred Championship win of the season.

If York had been more clinical, they would have likely come away with the points against Sheffield Eagles last weekend, but that could seldom have been criticised this afternoon.

The only dampener was Brown’s needless sin-bin for a professional foul seconds before half-time – but they were still able to score twice whilst he was sidelined.

It was one-way traffic from the outset as Nikau Williams twice fed Brown to cross into the right corner inside the opening 11 minutes, with Sam Cook scoring his first try for the club before Stack finally brought the Raiders onto the board midway through the first half.

But that proved to be as good as it got for the visitors during the opening 40 minutes, with further tries from Brad Ward, Connor Bailey and Jack Teanby handing the Knights an already commanding 32-6 lead at half-time.

Any ideas that the hosts would lay down after the break were soon put to bed, with Oli Field scoring from close range and Liam Harris crossing with both a length-of-the-field effort and some neat footwork before Bulman scored another consolation for the visitors.

Nikau Williams’ flowing effort then put the icing on the cake as the Knights moved up to eighth, two points outside the play-offs.


Applegarth made two changes, with Cook handed a first start at hooker, and James Cunningham returning from a five-month injury layoff at loose forward.

That saw Field move into the centres in place of Jimmy Keinhorst – given time off to attend Rob Burrow’s funeral – whilst Harvey Reynolds came onto the bench in place of Brenden Santi, who missed out with illness.

It was a quiet opening to proceedings before a penalty conceded by Raiders captain Stack for dissent opened the door for the Knights to break the deadlock with six minutes played.

Some dazzling footwork from Williams carved out space on the right edge, with the makeshift centre delivering a stunning back-of-the-hand pass for Brown to dive across into the right corner.

Dagger’s touchline conversion flew wide, and he saw his next attempt come back off the right-hand post just three minutes later after Williams had again fed Brown, who raced across the whitewash before narrowing the angle for the full-back’s ill-fated attempt.

And the Knights fired themselves further in front in the 17th minute.

Having been handed a six-again, and then a penalty for a high tackle on Williams, Cook backed himself out of dummy half from the play-the-ball, driving over just to the right of the posts to score his first try for the club.

Dagger slotted over the conversion with ease, with Barrow dealt a huge blow in the aftermath after hooker Josh Wood came off with injury.

Nonetheless, the Raiders hit back within minutes after Jordan Thompson’s ball spill, with Stack reacting quickest to ground Walker’s grubber to the right of the posts.

Ryan Johnston converted with ease to cut the gap to 14-6, but that proved to be the last time that they would trouble the scoreboard before the break.

Brad Ward added another try to his tally with a flying finish into the left corner.Brad Ward added another try to his tally with a flying finish into the left corner. (Image: Craig Hawkhead Photography)

The Knights soon resumed their scoring, after Wigan Warriors loanee Jacob Douglas had been penalised for offside, with Ata Hingano throwing a pass to Field, who found Ward, the winger given free rein to dive across into the left corner.

Dagger added the extras in style and did so again from the opposite edge after Bailey had taken three defenders with him across the line on the half-hour.

Teanby further widened the scoreline - barging over from close range after the Knights had been awarded a scrum, and then a penalty - but the half ended on a sour note, with Brown sent to the sin-bin for a professional foul with just seconds until the hooter.

As a result, the Knights started the second half with 12 players, but that didn’t stop them from twice finding the whitewash during Brown’s time on the sidelines.

First, Dagger fed Field to crash over into the left corner from close range before Harris picked off Johnston’s cut-out pass, racing from his own 10-metre line to score next to the posts.

Dagger converted the latter but not the former, bringing the Knights’ lead to 42-6 just eight minutes after the interval.

Luke Cresswell, whose late try had levelled the scores at Craven Park earlier in the season, broke 50 metres downfield as Barrow enjoyed a rare spell, but Hingano was happy to see Brad Walker’s grubber on the last roll dead.

Harris could have had a second long-range effort after an attempted grubber bounced back off Ward and into his hands, only for referee Ryan Cox to blow his whistle prematurely and award a scrum in York’s favour instead.

The Knights though added their next points from the tee after Barrow had been penalised for a high shot with 25 minutes remaining.

A knock-on then presented Applegarth’s side with their ninth try of the afternoon, with Harris stepping back off his left foot before turning Cresswell and diving for the line, with Dagger’s conversion bringing up a deserved half-century.

Makeshift centre Nikau Williams added the icing to the cake late on.Makeshift centre Nikau Williams added the icing to the cake late on. (Image: Craig Hawkhead Photography)

Barrow did give their supporters something to cheer after Bulman intercepted Cook’s pass before racing 20 metres to score into the right corner but it was the Knights who had the final word, with Williams scoring one of their tries of the season.

Reynolds found the Kiwi with a stunning back-of-the-hand pass, with the centre playing a neat one-two with Brown before diving into the right corner to complete the rout.

YORK KNIGHTS: Dagger, Brown, Williams, Field, Ward, Harris, Hingano, Fitzsimmons, Cook, Thompson, Gannon, Bailey, Cunningham.

INTERCHANGES: Teanby, Michael, Daley, Reynolds.

TRIES: Brown (6, 11), Cook (17), Ward (26), Bailey (30), Teanby (34), Field (43), Harris (47, 63), Williams (75)

GOALS: Dagger 7/11

SIN-BIN: Brown (Professional foul, 39)

BARROW RAIDERS: Cresswell, Bulman, Costello, Broadbent, Douglas, Walker, Johnston, Gillam, Wood, Silva, Clarke, Stack, Worthington.

INTERCHANGES: Smith, Makin, Rothwell, Brown.

TRIES: Stack (21), Bulman (69)

GOALS: Johnston 2/2

POINTS SEQUENCE: 4-0, 8-0, 12-0, 14-0, 14-4, 14-6, 18-6, 20-6, 24-6, 26-6, 30-6, 32-6, 36-6, 40-6, 42-6, 44-6, 48-6, 50-6, 50-10, 50-12, 54-12


YORK’S STAR MAN: Liam Harris. Barrow did not know how to live with the Knights’ captain, who was a constant threat, and scored with a sensational length-of-the-field effort.