York City Knights

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York City Knights
YorkCityKnights.png
Full name York City Knights Rugby League Club
Founded 1868: York Football Club
2003: York City Knights
Location York, England
Ground(s) Huntington Stadium
Coach(es) Gary Thornton
League(s) Kingstone Press Championship 1 (From 2014)
2013 RFL Championship 14th
1st kit
2nd kit
Official website
www.yorkcityknights.co.uk

York City Knights Rugby League Club are an English professional rugby league club based in York. In the 2014 season they will play in the Kingstone Press Championship One, after being relegated in 2013. The Knights play at the Huntington Stadium, situated to the north-east of York city centre.

History[edit]

Early years[edit]

The club was first formed as York Football Club in 1868 and played both association and rugby football, for the first few seasons they had portable goal posts as they did not have their own ground and would play wherever they could find a pitch. Eventually a permanent pitch was secured on Knavesmire.

It took three years for the club to record their first victory, and that was in an association football match against York Training College. Results picked up in the mid-1870s as the club attracted a higher standard of player. In 1877, York were among several leading Yorkshire clubs who inaugurated the Yorkshire Challenge Cup. In the first season 16 teams battled it out for the T'owd Tin Pot, with York eventually losing out to Halifax in the final.

Financial problems in the early 1880s forced the club out of the Yorkshire Gentlemen's Ground in Wigginton Road and in 1883 the club amalgamated with York Melbourne Club.

After playing on Poad's Fields for a short time, the York Lunatic Asylum leased the club a plot of land at the end of the Clarence Street in 1885. The first game at the new site was between a York XV and 20 players from the city.

The club made great strides with the team of 1895, which won virtually all their home matches. Off the field the club paid £85 for the Waterman's Mission Hut in Fishergate and converted it into their first grandstand, incorporating dressing rooms.

Northern Union[edit]

Northern rugby teams broke away from the Rugby Football Union to form their own Northern Union in 1895. York initially stayed with the Rugby Football Union but as more and more clubs began to join the new order, it became a financial necessity to follow suit. The decision to join the Northern Union was taken at a meeting at the Bar Hotel, Micklegate, on Monday, 25 April 1898 and five days later they played their first Northern Union match against Hull KR losing 29–2.

The York club was first admitted to the Rugby Football League in 1901. In 1902/03 The Lancashire and Yorkshire leagues were combined to form a second division. York was one of the new teams to join the second division. After World War I, they became known as "the Dreadnoughts". They beat the visiting Australasian team of the 1921–22 Kangaroo tour of Great Britain 9–3.

York's best moment came in 1931 when they reached the Challenge Cup Final for the first time, only to be beaten 22–8 by Halifax. York had finished as the top Yorkshire club in 1932–33 for the first time and fourth in the league to qualify for the Championship play-offs but were beaten by Swinton. In 1933, York beat Hull Kingston Rovers 10–4 in the Yorkshire Cup final held at Headingley. 10 February 1934, York's record attendance was set when 14,689 turned up to watch a Challenge Cup match against Swinton, which ended in a 0–0 draw.

York again made the final of the Yorkshire cup in 1935 but were beaten by Leeds 3–0 at Halifax but were back the next year this time beating Wakefield Trinity 9–2 in a final held at Headingley.

Bill Kirkbride became coach in 1980. York team lifted the Division Two title in 1980–81, beating Hunslet 53–7 to guarantee themselves the title with two games to spare, finishing above big-guns Wigan and big-spending Fulham.[1] Kirkbridge left in 1982.

Financial problems forced the club to sell their training pitch for £200,000 in 1986. Three years later faced with a large bill for safety work, the rest of the stadium was sold to a housing developer for £705,000, less than half what the ground was worth. York's last match at Clarence Street produced a 26–17 victory over Hunslet in front of a crowd of 2,904 spectators. When plans to ground share with York City F.C. broke down, York moved to the Huntington Stadium (originally Ryedale Stadium) two miles to the north of the city at Monk's Cross. As the stadium was financed by Ryedale District Council the club became known as Ryedale-York.

Ryedale-York[edit]

Gary Stephens became coach in 1988. Huntington/Ryedale Stadium's record attendance for a rugby league match was set on 5 Jan 1990 when 4,977 turned up to watch a division two match against Halifax.

In 1991, York and Fulham toured Russia. An act that caused many Russian rugby union clubs to switch to rugby league. Stephens left as coach.

Stewart Horton took over the coaching reigns from Roger Millward in January 1995. He was sacked at the end of 1996 for alleged gross misconduct after the postponement of a friendly fixture at Hull. He was replaced by Dean Robinson. Following the move to summer rugby in 1996, the club was renamed York Wasps.

York Wasps[edit]

York won one game in the Northern Ford Premiership in 2000 and finished the campaign with a team of amateurs after almost folding. Coach Dean Robinson resigned in March 2000 and caretaker coach Garry Atkins finished the season.

Lee Crooks took over as coach in August 2000. They attracted sponsorship from the New York Economic Development Council for the 2001 season.[2] This promised, but did not deliver, a bright future. Lee Crooks resigned and academy coach Martin Flynn took charge for the final Northern Ford Premiership home game.

York made an approach to Virgin to buy the London Broncos in August 2001 and form a merged club under a new name, York Wasps Ltd, to play in Super League. [1] Australian Leo Epifania came over to England to be head coach of York Wasps in September.

On 19 March 2002, after completing 11 games,[3] York Wasps announced that they had folded. After a last-ditch take-over deal to save the Wasps collapses, the RFL accept the club's resignation on 26 March.[4] Ironically the plug was pulled less than a fortnight after the club's first win in 13 months.

Head coach, Leo Epifania quit England but York players continued to train with the idea of playing later in the season under unpaid caretaker-boss Stewart Horton. A supporters' trust working party was formed on 27 March and applied to the RFL to continue the 2002 Northern Ford Premiership fixtures. After hearing it would be impossible to meet requirements to return that season, on 5 May fans backed new proposals for a new club to apply for admittance to the league for 2003.

The RFL accepted York's bid to play in the newly formed National League Two on condition that they had £75,000 in the bank by 31 August. York RL decided that the best way to raise cash was through a fans' membership scheme. Former Great Britain star Paul Broadbent was revealed as player-coach. With the total standing at £70,000, John Smith's brewery came in with £5,000 as the club hit the target just hours before the deadline.

York City Knights[edit]

The full name of the new club was revealed to be York City Knights RLFC, following a competition in the Evening Press. Club bosses, in the following month of October, also let the public design a club logo, while they picked new colours of blue and white – a move away from Wasps' traditional amber and black. John Guildford, majority shareholder of York building firm Guildford Construction, was revealed to be the majority shareholder. The Knights played their first game at home against Hull KR in the National League Cup on 19 January with a bumper crowd of 3,105. In their first year, the Knights made the National League Two play-offs but Paul Broadbent resigned as coach.

Richard Agar was appointed head coach.[5] The following year they were narrowly beaten in the play-off final by Halifax. Agar left York to join Hull as an assistant coach.[6]

York City Knights appointed Mick Cook as their new head coach in 2005 as part of a partnership with Super League club Leeds Rhinos,[7] they were champions and promoted automatically in his first year as Knights coach.[8] As well as gaining promotion to National League One, 2005 saw the club reach the fifth round of the Challenge Cup, as well as having the highest crowd average for National League One teams, of 1,986. Yorks's game against Hunslet on 25 May 2005 drew a crowd of 3,224 which was a record for National League One.

Despite a good late run of form, York were relegated back to National League Two in 2006. They did however, win the Fairfax Cup, after beating Batley 14–10 in their first appearance in the York International 9s.

Mick Cook quit as coach to run his business. Paul March was appointed player-coach on a one-year rolling contract in September 2007, however was sacked in July 2009 due to disciplinary matters and then director of rugby James Ratcliffe took over.[9]

Dave Woods arrived at York City Knights as director of rugby in April 2010. Two months later, Ratcliffe was sacked and Woods was named as head coach. The Knights were fifth in Championship 1 at the time after seven wins and six losses in the league. Woods' first game was a 60-12 victory over Gateshead and finished third in the table and thus qualified for the play-offs. [2] On 26 September 2010, the Knights won the Co-operative Championship 1 play-off Grand Final to earn promotion to the Championship. They beat Oldham Roughyeds 25–6 at the Haliwell Jones Stadium in Warrington. The Knights had finished the regular season 13 points behind their final opponents.[10]

York finished third-bottom of the Championship in 2011, but bottom club Toulouse were exempt from relegation so, with two going down, the Knights faced demotion – until the RFL decided not to admit Crusaders into this division following their withdrawal from Super League, thus earning York a reprieve. Just six days later Dave Woods was sacked by the club. [3]

Gary Thornton was appointed head coach in 2012 replacing Chris Thorman who joined the coaching staff at Huddersfield Giants. [4]

Honours[edit]

Coaching register[edit]

2014 squad[edit]

* Announced on 17 February 2014:

2014 Squad Numbers

No Nat Player Position Former Club
1 England James Haynes Full Back, Wing Gateshead Thunder
2 Kenya George Elliot Wing, Centre Leeds Rhinos
3 England James Ford Centre Widnes Vikings
4 England Greg Minikin Centre Amateur RL
5 England Ben Dent Wing, Full Back New Earswick All Blacks
6 England Pat Smith Stand Off Gloucestershire All Golds
7 England Jonny Presley Scrum Half Blackpool Panthers
8 England Nathan Freer Prop Hull Ionians
9 England Jack Lee Hooker Featherstone Rovers
10 England Jack Aldous Prop Hull FC
11 England Ryan Mallinder Second Row Sharlston Rovers
12 England Ed Smith Second Row York Acorn
13 England Lee Patterson Loose Forward Whitehaven RLFC
14 England Kris Brining Hooker York City Knights
15 Republic of Ireland Jason Golden Second Row, Loose Forward Harlequins RL
16 Republic of Ireland Iain Morrison Prop, Second Row Halifax RLFC
17 England Jack Pickles Second Row, Prop Milford Marlins
18 England Austin Bell Prop Hull FC
19 England Jake Joynt Second Row Featherstone Rovers
20 England Harry Carter Hooker York City Knights
21 England Jack Iley Loose Forward Featherstone Rovers
22 England Ben Crane Prop Hull FC
23 England Benn Hardcastle Stand Off Gateshead Thunder
24 England Nathan Harper Prop Featherstone Rovers
25 England Luke Hardcastle Full Back, Centre Gateshead Thunder
26 England Curtis Macdonald Full Back, Wing Castleford Tigers
27 England Ryan Backhouse Loose Forward Castleford Tigers
28 England Tyler Craig Loose Forward Hull Kingston Rovers
29 England Josh Nathaniel Centre, Second Row Hunslet Hawks
30 England James Morland Full Back, Stand Off York City Knights

2014 transfers[edit]

Gains

Player Club Contract length Date
England Benn Hardcastle Gateshead Thunder October 2013
England Luke Hardcastle Gateshead Thunder October 2013
England Ben Crane Hull FC October 2013
England James Haynes Gateshead Thunder October 2013
England Pat Smith Gloucestershire All Golds October 2013
England Lee Patterson Whitehaven RLFC October 2013
Scotland Iain Morrison Halifax RLFC October 2013
England Jake Joynt Featherstone Rovers October 2013
England Jack Iley Featherstone Rovers October 2013
England Josh Nathaniel Gateshead Thunder October 2013
England Nathan Harper Featherstone Rovers October 2013
England Curtis Macdonald Castleford Tigers October 2013
England Ryan Mallinder Sharlston Rovers October 2013
England Ryan Backhouse Castleford Tigers October 2013

Losses

Player Club Contract length Date
England Adam Sullivan Retire N/A October 2013
England Matt Nicholson Featherstone Rovers October 2013
England Simon Brown Halifax RLFC October 2013
England Aaron Lyons Hunslet Hawks October 2013
England Tom Carr Whitehaven RLFC October 2013
England Ben Johnston Halifax RLFC October 2013
England Nev Morrison Doncaster RLFC October 2013
England Sam Scott Batley Bulldogs October 2013
England Luke Stenchion Hunslet Hawks October 2013
England Jack Latus Hull FC October 2013
Scotland Dougie Flockhart Released October 2013
England Nat Browne Released October 2013
England Sam Orange Released October 2013
England Craig Potter Released October 2013
England Tim Stubbs Released October 2013
England Luke Tomlinson Released October 2013
Scotland Jon Goddard Released October 2013
England Joe Hemmings Released October 2013
England Scott Talbot Released October 2013

Players earning International Caps while at York[edit]

Other Players[edit]

F. D. Merreweather of York played in The Rest's 5–7 defeat to Leeds in the 1901–02 Yorkshire Senior Competition Champions versus The Rest match at Headingley Stadium on Saturday 19 April 1902.[12]

Records[edit]

  • Match records

Goals: 20 by Chris Thorman at home to Northumbria University, 6 March 2011 (Goals: all time York RL record: Chris Thorman v Northumbria University, 6 March 2011)

Tries: 6 by Jonny Presley at home to Northumbria University, 6 March 2011 (Tries: all time York RL record: 7 by Brad Davis v Highfield 17 Sep 1995)

Points: 56 by Chris Thorman at home to Northumbria University, 6 March 2011 – 4 tries and 20 goals (Points: all time York RL record: 56 by Chris Thorman at home to Northumbria University, 6 March 2011 – 4 tries and 20 goals)

  • Season records

Goals: 178 (174 goals and 4 drop goals) by Danny Brough, 2004 Tries: 25 by Peter Fox, 2005 (Tries: all time York RL record: 35 by John Crossley, 1980–81) Points:412 by Danny Brough, 2004

  • Highest score for

132–0 at home to Northumbria University, 6 March 2011 (all time York RL record: 132–0 at home to Northumbria University, 6 March 2011)

  • Biggest win

132–0 at home to Northumbria University, 6 March 2011 (all time York RL record: 132–0 at home to Northumbria University, 6 March 2011)

  • Highest score against

62–0 at St Helens, Powergen Challenge Cup, 6 May 2005 (all time York RL record: 98–0 at Rochdale Hornets, 8 April 2001)

  • Biggest defeat

62–0 at St Helens, Powergen Challenge Cup, 6 May 2005 (all time York RL record: 98–0 at Rochdale Hornets, 8 April 2001)

  • Highest home attendances

3,509 v Leeds Rhinos, Friendly, 3 January 2005 (at Bootham Crescent) 3,224 v Hunslet Hawks, NL2, 22 May 2005 3,106 v Oldham, CC1, 25 June 2009 3,105 v Hull KR, ATC, 19 January 2003 (all time York RL record – Clarence Street: 14,689 v Swinton (Challenge Cup), 10 February 1934. (all time York RL record – Huntington Stadium: 4,977 v Halifax (Division 2), 5 January 1990 – Then Ryedale Stadium.

References[edit]

External links[edit]