York City Knights 24 - 46 Keighley Cougars
New York City Knights coach Gary Thornton was in attendance at Cougar Park as the team he will coach from the start of next season fell to a 46-24 defeat away to the Keighley Cougars.
Current Castleford Tigers under 20's coach Thornton, who was appointed two weeks ago, was given plenty to think about after watching a dismal performance against a Keighley side pushing hard for a play off berth. Although there were some moments of attacking brilliance on the part of Chris Thorman's side, and a promising debut for local product Tyler Craig, the main concern was their poor defence, which saw them concede nine tries that could have been prevented. Richie Barnett was the main beneficiary of the visitors' porous defence, running in a hat trick of tries to consign the Knights to their twelfth defeat in thirteen league games this season. To add insult to injury, Knights captain James Ford was taken off with an ankle injury that could end his season. The loss of Ford will be a huge blow for the Knights, as he has been a shining light in an otherwise dim season.
There were few surprises in the other matches of the round, with the highlight being a 68-0 victory for the Featherstone Rovers against the Hunslet Hawks in the clash of top versus bottom. The Sheffield Eagles secured a battling 32-24 victory over the Batley Bulldogs, while the Leigh Centurions won with consummate ease against the Dewsbury Rams, achieving a 50-6 triumph. Finally, Halifax defeated York's fellow strugglers the Swinton Lions 50-28.
The Knights will have their work cut out again on Sunday when they welcome the Leigh Centurions to the Huntington Stadium on Sunday afternoon, kick off 3pm. Knights coach Thorman is likely to make just one change to his side, with youngster Craig ruled out due to touring commitments with the Great Britain Community Lions. Thorman will still be seeking to go out on a high once he departs to assist Paul Anderson at the Huddersfield Giants at the end of the season, and a shock result over Leigh would be a great step in the right direction.