When the draw for the second round of the Betfred Challenge Cup was made, the potential for a clash between two highly ambitious sides was likely to be the most mouth watering prospect as the possibility of the London Broncos hosting the York City Knights was on the cards. And with York beating Sheffield and London being victorious over Keighley, so it came to pass.
The chance of a big game against one of the top Super League outfits was the prize on offer as the sides met at Rosslyn Park in south west London. The two teams met in round five last year, before the competition was truncated by the pandemic, and it was the visitors York who triumphed by 24-22 on that occasion.
It was a scrappy opening, typical nervous cup tie fare, with the whistle of Marcus Griffiths punctuating proceedings far too frequently.
After shunning some earlier opportunities, and with twenty minutes on the clock, the Broncos finally decided to use a penalty to get on the scoreboard when Ed Chamberlain kicked from eighteen metres.
Jason Bass went close for York on twenty-five as he flew down the wing, but the touch judge ruled that there was a foot in touch before he got the ball to ground.
London were mostly on the front foot, York’s defence equal to the task, but the momentum could have shifted when Jacob Jones was sin-binned on thirty-five for a reckless high tackle, the Broncos holding on until the interval despite good York pressure.
The first try of the game came on forty-two when Adam Cuthbertson found Joe Porter who barged his way to the line from twenty metres out. Kieran Dixon added the conversion for a 6-2 lead.
York bombed a great chance on fifty-two after a Brendan O’Hagan break, but a scrambling London defence shut them out and forced the error to regain possession.
York kicked a penalty goal on sixty-three to extend their lead to six points thanks to the reliable boot of Dixon.
Liam Salter scored the winner for the Knights on the final hooter as York dummied the drop goal before moving the ball wide, the centre running in on the overlap. Dixon added the conversion for a 14-2 win.
The war of attrition continued as strong defences nullified somewhat flat attacks. York finally triumphed in a low scoring game and they made progress through to the third round of the Challenge Cup and the chance of a big name in the next round. Danny Ward will be frustrated that his side couldn’t turn a half-time lead into a win and one moment to lax defence allowed York in for the crucial try which left them playing catch-up.
London Broncos: Chamberlain (G), Boafo, Lowell, Hodson, Miski, Leyland, Horsman, Navarette, Davis, Krasniqi, Walters, Jones (SB on 35), Hindmarsh. Subs: Richards, Gwaze, Latu, Williams.
York City Knights: Dixon, Bass, Salter (T), Atkins, Dow-Nikau, O’Hagan, Marsh, Dixon (2G), Jubb, Baldwinson, Kirmond, Clarkson, Spears. Subs: Cuthbertson, Green, Porter (T), Barcoe.
Referee: Marcus Griffiths.
Score Progression: 2-0 : HT : 2-4, 2-6, 2-8, 2-12, 2-14 : FT.