London Broncos 50 (20), York City Knights 22 (10)
Match Report by David Ballheimer
London Broncos, at the end of a trying week, bounced back in emphatic style to hand the York City Knights another big defeat. Maybe the two most injury-hit teams in the Championship put on an entertaining if somewhat error-prone 80 minutes dominated by a superb defensive display from the Broncos.
York started the game very strongly and ran off a group of four repeat sets, almost all inside the London 20, but brilliant tackling stopped numerous runs, culminating in a gang of four forcing out Will Jubb in goal as the hooker tried to ground the ball.
In response, London immediately attacked and a fine catch of a bomb by Tuoyo Egodo, in his first home game since the early spring, saw him tackled inches from the line on the final play.
It mattered little, because the Broncos’ next foray ended with skipper Will Lovell crashing over from short range and Chris Hankinson, as he was to do after all eight London tries, added the extras.
The response from the Knights was another strong attack but Ronan Dixon was held up in goal, the prop never looking likely to be able to put the ball down over the whitewash.
It once again proved costly because a good move involving Jimmy Meadows, Jarrod Sammut and Lovell ended with Josh Hodson going over the line without a defender close enough to stop him.
In the 21st minute, a reverse, angled kick from Meadows took an unfortunate bounce for Perry Whiteley and as the York winger was cursing his luck Hankinson was gathering the ball and touching down much as he pleased.
Whiteley’s day took a turn for the worse in the 29th minute when he thought he was going to score in the corner, only for Lovell to launch himself in a tackle that dislodged the ball and it rolled into touch close to the flag.
Vindication for Whiteley came shortly after when Riley Dean intercepted a Meadows pass aimed for Abbas Miski and he then sent the winger over in the corner, despite the best efforts of Oli Leyland. Kieran Dixon’s conversion sailed left of the posts, his only failure in four attempts.
Bouyed by the try, the Knights were quick to go back-to-back. A powerful move by the wily Danny Washbrook dragged in a host of tacklers and when he had wriggled his arms free enough to unload the ball, there were more attackers than defenders and Kieran Dixon scooted between the posts.
London might have wobbled, but they held firm and, a minute before the half-time hooter, a high tackle on Sammut gave Hankinson the chance to kick a penalty goal that gave London a ten-point lead at the break.
In the first half, the Broncos had fallen foul of the referee’s patience in the tackle and were punished by repeat sets. When London got their first repeat seat, in the 45th minute, they didn’t waste the chance as Lovell went over from close range for his double.
London continued to focus on their defence and York again were thwarted with two ball-carriers held up in goal. Then, in the 53rd minute, a loose pass rolled along the ground, and was picked by Dan Hindmarsh.
His old team-mate Kieran Dixon was quick to get to grips with Hindmarsh, but could not stop him passing to Hankinson. The centre set off on a 60-metre charge to the York line, handing off Danny Kirmond and stepping out of the attempted tackle of Whiteley.
There was a great moment for Leyland in the 58th minute, when he materialised on the shoulder of Rob Oakley and he darted over for his first try for the club. His team-mates’ excited reaction to the score showed a great team spirit and recognised the importance of breaking his duck.
London took the following kick-off and moved downfield with Hankinson again involved. He might have scored himself, but unselfishly sent over Miski, though the closest York defenders the pass felt might have been forward.
With 11 minutes to go, Jubb got the Knights back on the scoreboard when he went over from dummy half.
York made a hash of the restart, the receiver dropping the ball a metre from the back end of the in-goal area, realising he was about to step over the line. Either way, it was a goal-line drop-out.
The Broncos then forced another drop-out and won a penalty when Kieran Dixon went high on Oakley. Three tackles later Josh Jones went over and Hankinson’s conversion gave him 26 points for the game and the Broncos a half-century.
With a minute to go, Ryan Atkins went over from close range and the conversion left the final score 50–22.
London were clinical in attack and rarely wasted a red-zone possession, but the victory was built on the foundation of that goal-line resolution in the opening 15 minutes.
22 Oli Leyland, 2 Tuoyo Egodo, 3 Chris Hankinson, 23 Josh Hodson, 17 Abbas Miski, 1 James Meadows, 7 Jarrod Sammut, 31 Pat Moran, 26 Rob Oakley, 10 Greg Richards, 4 Will Lovell, 13 Josh Walters, 16 Dan Hindmarsh
19 Jacob Ogden, 24 Will Blakemore, 25 Jacob Jones, 28 Titus Gwaze
Tries: Lovell (7, 46), Hodson (16), Hankinson (21, 53), Leyland (38), Miski (60), Jones (72)
Goals: Hankinson 9/9
YORK CITY KNIGHTS
5 Keiran Dixon, 2 Jason Bass, 3 Liam Salter, 4 Ryan Atkins, 22 Perry Whiteley, 29 Riley Dean, 28 Danny Washbrook, 8 Ronan Dixon, 9 Will Jubb, 10 Jack Teanby, 17 Danny Kirmond, 12 Sam Scott, 11 Chris Clarkson
15 Jordan Badwinson, 16 Marcus Stock, 20 Tim Spears, 36 Corey Johnson
Tries: Whiteley (30), K. Dixon (32), Jubb (69), Atkins (78)
Goals: K. Dixon 3/4
Referee: John McMullen