York Knights slay the Stags as gulf in class shows

Match action from Hemel Stags' clash with York City Knights. Picture (c) Kevin Read
Match action from Hemel Stags' clash with York City Knights. Picture (c) Kevin Read

Kristian Brining scored a hat-trick of tries as York City Knights moved up to fourth place in the Kingstone Press League 1 table following a crushing 70-10 victory over Hemel Stags.

The Knights ran in 13 tries in a display of rugby that demonstrated the gulf between the northern-based clubs and their southern rivals.

Match action from Hemel Stags' clash with York City Knights. Picture (c) Kevin Read

Match action from Hemel Stags' clash with York City Knights. Picture (c) Kevin Read

The first half was a competitive affair; in fact Hemel started the brightest with both Derrell Olpherts and Eddie M’Baraga going close.

But then back to back penalties allowed York’s Jordan Howden to finish a crisp move, with Ben Dent converting.

Just two minutes later and Howden was over again – Brining dummied, Howden received the ball in space and cantered over the line.

Man of the match Brining got on the scoresheet on the 15 minute mark as a slight drop of the shoulder threw his marker the wrong way to open the line up, with Dent getting his second conversion.

Match action from Hemel Stags' clash with York City Knights. Picture (c) Kevin Read

Match action from Hemel Stags' clash with York City Knights. Picture (c) Kevin Read

It was Brining who scored again three minutes later by breaking the Stags line and passing inside to Josh Tonks who returned the favour for Brining to scamper over. Dent missed the conversion.

Hemel were still in the game and, after forcing a goal-line drop out, pressure on the York defence ended when Alex Ingarfield went in under a group of bodies. BJ Swindells tagged the extras.

A Tonks try was chalked off for crossing, but the last score of the half came on 35 minutes; a James Clare kick on the last was left by Hemel who seemed to think the ball was going dead – allowing Dent to run through to pounce. This time Howden took the kick, getting the first of six conversions.

The second period was only one minute old when York started off on a try-fest; Jonny Presley kicked on the last, Olpherts fumbled under pressure, and Greg Minikin collected to score.

Hemel Stags in action earlier this season. Picture (c) Kevin Read

Hemel Stags in action earlier this season. Picture (c) Kevin Read

Soon afterwards, Minikin broke down the right wing before deftly passing inside to the supporting Harry Carter to notch another York try.

The next Knights score was a scrappy affair on the left, with Dent getting the touchdown, before a kick through from Coleman was caught by Presley who broke the line and fed the ball outside to Morrison to cross the chalk. Howden missed the conversion.

He didn’t miss the next kick though; a tricky one as Clare scored in the corner.

York’s 11th try was the best of the day as Ed Smith finished off a fine move, with Howden bringing up the 60-point mark with the kick.

Nev Morrison added another try for York, before Hemel’s Connor Boyd-Barnes marked his pro debut with a well-taken opportunity.

The last laugh went to York as Brining fittingly completed his hat-trick, with the conversion by Dent taking the score to the 70-point mark.