Knights assured of Championship One progression


York City Knights are eagerly planning for life in Kingstone Press Championship One next season with assurances from the RFL that there will be a route in to Super League 2 for next years Championship One Champions.

Since relegation was confirmed after Wednesday night’s 38-20 loss at Doncaster, Chairman John Guildford has been working hard behind the scenes to get the club ready for an immediate promotion push.

The Knights Chairman said: “After Wednesday night I have been in regular contact with the RFL to get some answers that I needed on a number of matters, including the situation of promotion & relegation in the Championships ahead of the sport-wide restructure in 2015.”

“At present there are two options. Option 1 would see the winner of Championship One go straight up. Option 2 would see the winner of Championship One enter a play-off with Championship clubs in 10,11 and 12th place, with the play off winners going into Super League 2 (13th and 14th place will be relegated regardless). These two options are yet to be decided on but were confirmed to me by RFL yesterday.”

“This along with Gary Thornton staying as Head Coach next year has given the club a huge boost to our preparations, which have already been very positive.”

Knights fans can read much more about various different issues at the club – including a stadium update, club finances and the fallout from the Dave Woods legal case – in a specially extended set of programme notes from John Guildford in tomorrow’s edition of York & Proud, the Knights match–day magazine.

Meanwhile the Knights will aim to bow out of the Kingstone Press Championship with a final victory when they host Batley Bulldogs at the Huntington Stadium tomorrow.

Coach Gary Thornton said: “We can’t feel sorry for ourselves. We are where we are. We’ve been competitive a lot of time, but we haven’t been able to turn narrow defeats into wins.”

Thornton is set to promote a number of players that have featured for the Knights successful u20’s into the first team in preparation for next season, with the departing Matty Nicholson and Simon Brown sitting the game out.

“I don’t have anything but praise for Matty.” Thornton said: “He got himself fit so quickly after his shoulder reconstruction because he wanted to help the team. I’ll be sorry to see him go, if we’d had him all season it might have been different.”

Johnny Campbell and Byron Smith both look set to be available for Batley after overcoming recent injury concerns, but coach John Kear insists he will not play anybody who is not 100 per cent fit.

Kear said: “If there are any doubts, we won’t risk them – we’ve got the play-offs coming up and we want to be right for those. We played really well against Leigh last week, and it’s now a matter of backing that up.

“We’re in good form having won three of our last four, so we’re certainly not stuttering. While July was a poor month for us, August was a very good month for us.”

On York, he added: “They played on Wednesday so it’s difficult to say how they’ll rock up, but all we can do is prepare the best we can and be ready to play come Sunday.”