KEVIN SINFIELD produced his best game of union yet as he started a week that could end up with him being named BBC Sports Personality of the Year for his services to league.
The former Leeds Rhinos captain is currently 7/1 to win that trophy – from 33/1. It remains doubtful he will overhaul Andy Murray or Jessica Ennis-Hill but, in fairness, Sinfield has never been one for individual honours; he will probably be just as pleased with his Yorkshire Carnegie display ‘On The Road’ at Scarborough RUFC as his union career took a notable step forward.
The British & Irish Cup tie was only his fifth match so far but, having been dropped to the bench the week before, he returned to the starting line-up at fly-half and looked the part as London Scottish were eventually run ragged and a revived Carnegie won for the first time in four games.
Sinfield’s decision-making was spot on, choosing when and when not to kick wisely, while his overall control of affairs, in a game that saw Carnegie’s openside Chris Walker score a hat-trick of line-out-drive tries, was impressive.
Scottish’s Chris Walker scored in the 28th minute to make it 10-7. Sinfield delivered two moments of brilliance to show he is more than just a steady hand in his new sport.
First, the former England captain directed a pinpoint crossfield kick right into the onrushing David Doherty, the Carnegie winger who did not need to break stride before collecting and diving over for his side’s bonus try point.
Then, Sinfield produced a fired cut-out pass in the shadow of the Scottish posts that left the visitors grabbing thin air, ushering Josh Bainbridge over for his first try in the 62nd minute. He slotted the kick and was replaced, safe in the knowledge he is certainly getting to grips with union.
In between, Taylor Prell, the 19-year-old who excelled at full-back, scored a deserved try.
Yorkshire Carnegie: Prell; Doherty, Wright, Leonard, Holmes; Sinfield (Hodgson 63), Pilgrim; Imiolek (Hooper 52), Nilsen (J Walker 65), O’Donnell (Beech 52), Schofield, Smith (Barnard 66), Jones, C Walker (Bainbridge 52), Burrows.
London Scottish: Morris; Earle (Millar 74), Locke, Harries, Packman (Hughes 26); Newton, Heeks (Calder 61); Cosgrove (Cherry 55), Moran (Hallam 55), Litchfield, Carrick-Smith, Bartle, Brown, C Walker, Bright.
Referee: Andrew Jackson (RFU).
Doncaster Phoenix stole a march in the race for the North 1 East title after seeing off Morley 20-15 at home to cement their place at the top.
The two sides began the day level on points, knowing that the victors would nose ahead for the first time this season. The Maroons started brightly despite the abysmal conditions took the lead with a penalty from skipper Mark Chester.
Phoenix hit back with a soft try but Morley started to use the conditions to their benefit with three consecutive penalties to take a 12-7 lead at the midway stage. However, a mistake in the second half from a charge-down led to Doncaster’s second try and the hosts took control with a drop-goal and a penalty to lead 20-12.
Chester’s penalty got his side within a score towards the end but it only proved to be enough for the losing bonus point.
Otley suffered their third successive defeat in National 2 North, going down 27-19 at bottom club Luctonians.
The home side made the better start and went on to dominate the first half by taking a 20-5 lead, Otley’s try coming from second row Jonathan Stannard. However, a comeback after the break began with a penalty-try, converted by skipper Stephen Depledge, to reduce the arrears to eight points. A third try followed when centre Mike Coady crossed and Depledge again converted to leave the game on tenterhooks at 20-19.
Just when it seemed Otley may have rescued their situation they conceded a try with 10 minutes remaining and Luctonians were in no mood to let victory slip through their fingers, holding firm with dogged defence.
Sandal made it back-to-back victories with a 17-0 home success over Tynedale in atrocious conditions.
In National One, Wharfedale edged an exciting encounter at Hull Ionians 16-15 after trailing 15-6 at the interval.