York City Knights 0 Wigan Warriors 26 - James Ford 'proud' after Challenge Cup defeat

There was never any chance of an upset at York City Knights’ new stadium last night, but the hosts emerged with credit from their first meeting with Wigan Warriors since 1986.

York City Knights coach James Ford. Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com.

The 26-0 scoreline was respectable for the injury-hit Championship side, who were valiant throughout a hard-fought Challenge Cup tie, against considerable odds.

Missing a raft of first-choice players, Knights coach James Ford gave a competitive debut to two 17 year olds - full-back Myles Harrison and substitute AJ Towse - but his side were never overwhelmed.

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"I am really proud of how together we are and how hard working and how mentally tough we are," said Ford afterwards.

"I am also proud we've given two 17 year olds their debut and Myles Harrison, especially, I thought showed up pretty well."

Though York were spirited and well-organised, without most of their former Super League stars, including captain Chris Clarkson, Ben Jones-Bishop, Ryan Atkins and Danny Kirmond, they didn’t have the tools to break Wigan down, despite being gifted some opportunities through errors and particularly penalties.

Wigan’s attack was sloppy at times, but half-back Jackson Hastings was all class, being involved in the first four of their five tries.

It took them 20 minutes to break the part-timers down, Zak Hardaker eventually running a nice line on to Hastings’ pass to slice through.

But last year’s Super League leaders didn’t really get a grip on the game until the last eight minutes of the half, when they ran in two touchdowns.

Harry Smith went over at the corner after Sam Halsall leaped to take Hastings’ last tackle kick and quick hands created an overlap on the visitors’ right; then Hastings’ pass created space for Smith to put Halsall over for a touchdown which Hardaker converted to make it 14-0 at the interval.

That was Halsall’s first senior try and fellow teenager Umyla Hanley - son of Ellery Hanley - matched that feat 11 minutes into the second period, following Hastings’ break.

Tony Clubb crashed over from close range at the start of the final quarter and Hardaker’s third conversion completed the scoring.

York City Knights: Harrison, Whiteley, Dow-Nikau, Salter, Dixon, Marsh, Washbrook, Green, Jubb, Cuthbertson, Porter, Scott, Spears. Subs Barcoe, Dixon, Stock, Towse.

Wigan Warriors: Hardaker, Bibby, Isa, Halsall, Hanley, Smith, Hastings, Bullock, Powell, Singleton, Bateman, Smithies, Partington. Subs Byrne, Clubb, Harvard, Shorrocks.

Referee: Marcus Griffiths (Widnes).