Whitehaven more than matched York across the pitch and capitalised on a Tim Spears’ infringement to get off the mark just before the first quarter was up. Minutes later, Holliday broke through a shellshocked Knights defence before Karl Dixon latched onto a wayward Tyla Hepi pass to race away and cross.
When Jordan Baldwinson twisted over for the Knights just after half-time, it was too great a mountain for the visitors to climb and Haven duly heaped on them more difficulties with further scores.
Castleford Tigers loanee Tyla Hepi was on the Knights’ bench for the trip to Cumbria, having been in the same position on Thursday evening when his parent club lost to Super League leaders Catalans Dragons.
Experienced centre Ryan Atkins was absent with a one-match ban. Jake Sweeting also missed out while Will Jubb was brought in among the interchanges. Chris Clarkson started at hooker.
Jason Bass came into the centres to partner Liam Salter after having started last week’s narrow defeat to Batley Bulldogs on the bench.
Leigh Centurions loanee Jamie Ellis started a second game at half-back.
For the hosts, head coach Gary Charlton made five changes from last week’s, with winger Jesse Joe Parker coming in to make his 200th Haven appearance. Sean Croston replaced Chris Taylor in the centres.
Try-scorer last week Tom Wilkinson kept his place at loose forward while second-row Liam Cooper, who also notched four points against London Broncos, dropped to the bench.
York gained immediate ground from Jamie Ellis’ kick off, which skimmed out of play between three Haven men and gave the Knights the ball on the 10-metre line. They were held up from the resulting play before Danny Washbrook overhit his kick through and out of play.
The Knights were handed an early worry when Adam Cuthbertson went down holding his knee. Jordan Baldwsinson went on for the veteran after just six minutes.
After York’s early foray deep into home territory, Haven had been making good progress to the try-line. Combined with good forward work, a couple of cheap handovers apiece kept the early play largely between the halfway line and the Knights’ 10m.
Kieran Dixon dealt with the last-tackle kicks consummately.
When the visitors did get forward, Ellis again showed his skill with the boot to bisect the defence and collect his own kick under the posts, eventually being held up over the line.
Whitehaven were ahead a quarter of the way through. A penalty following Tim Spears’ late tackle gave the hosts ground and James Newton burrowed his way to the try-line just to the left of the posts. Lachlan Walmsley added the straightforward extras.
Connor Holliday drove through the Knights defence to put Haven 10-0 up, finishing off a move that started with another penalty tap, this time from near the halfway line. Walmsley’s slightly trickier kick from a wider angle went straight through the uprights.
It got even worse for the Knights after 26 minutes. Hepi, on for Spears, was tackled just on the Knights’ side of the halfway line. He flung the ball backwards to Danny Kirmond, who could not get his fingers to it and Haven stand-off Karl Dixon poked it on with his boot to race under the posts. Walmsley again converted.
York looked like might have been getting back into the contest with some impassioned play that belied their deficit.
But from inside their own 20m, Parker set Haven away for a sucker-punch. Kieran Dixon flew across the pitch to cover their breaking winger but Walmsley broke through the middle to take the pass and slide triumphantly under the posts before converting his own score.
Four minutes after the break, it was York’s turn to benefit from a cheap penalty, Haven caught offside less than 10 metres out. From Jubb’s short-range pass on the line, Baldwinson spun over and Dixon added the two points.
But Haven seemed to have York matched across the park. The visitors enjoyed some decent spells of possession, including forcing a goalline drop-out from Whitehaven, but lacked that spark to make it seem like another try was imminent.
Meanwhile, Whitehaven were able to return everything with interest. Despite looking a touch leggy, full-back Walmsley remained a powerful threat and he extended Whitehaven’s lead to 26-6 with a penalty on the hour.
Three minutes later and the hosts hit 30 with Andrew Bulman bludgeoning his way over in the corner, giving Walmsley his most difficult conversion attempt of the afternoon. That, he missed.
Holliday notched his second try of the day in the 68th minute, going over despite Clarkson’s attentions, and Walmsley, named man of the match by the hosts, got back on the horse with this conversion.
Whitehaven: Walmsley, Parker, Croston, Mossop, Bulman, Dixon, Williams, Dawson, Newton, Graham, Holliday, Gillam, Wilkinson.
Subs: Bradley, Zammit, Cooper, Thomas.
Tries: Newton (19), Holliday (22, 68), Dixon (26), Walmsley (38), Bulman (63) Goals: Walmsley (5/6) Penalties: Walmsley (1/1) Drop goals: Williams York: Marsh, Jones-Bishop, Salter, Bass, K Dixon, Ellis, Washbrook, Cuthbertson, Clarkson, Teanby, Kirmond, Scott, Spears.
Subs: Jubb, Baldwinson, Stock, Hepi.
Tries: Baldwinson (44), Dixon (78) Goals: Dixon (1/1) Attendance: 601