Yorkshire Carnegie head coach Bryan Redpath’s admitted his side’s forwards “got them out of jail” as they overturned a 22-13 half-time deficit to beat Jersey on the opening day.
Carnegie scored 26 unanswered points in the second half to earn them a hard-fought win against the spirited islanders.
Boss Redpath said: “I’ve given the boys both barrels, in the first half I thought we were extremely naive, our discipline which we knew we had to be really hot on was poor.
“Second half we redeemed ourselves in many ways but let’s not gloss over the fact the game is an 80 minute game.”
Yorkshire began brightly enough with Harry Leonard opened the scoring with a penalty from 40 metres out after Jersey had been penalised for collapsing the scrum.
But the islanders’ first venture in Carnegie proved to be profitable with Nick Haining barging his way over for the game’s first try.
The lead lasted a matter of minutes though with Leonard slotting over his second 40-metre penalty to restore Carnegie’s lead at 6-5.
Referee Andrew Jackson’s patience with Carnegie’s ill-discipline at the breakdown eventually wore thin and he sent Dean Schofield to the sin-bin for continued infringements.
Jersey made their man advantage count immediately when scrum-half Jack Moates skipped through to score under the posts. Cope converted.
The Headingley crowd could hardly believe what was happening and it got worse when Fautua Otto’s slaloming run carved open the defence and James Freeman touched down for Jersey’s third try.
South African Cope kicked the conversion from in front of the posts and visitors had a 13 point lead.
But back came Carnegie and from a five-metre lineout Charlie Beech scored Yorkshire’s opening try.
Carnegie then received their second yellow card of the half with Phil Nilsen sent to the bin for an infringement at the breakdown and Cope kicked the resulting penalty for Jersey.
It then took Redpath’s men 19 minutes to get on the scoreboard in the second period.
In a virtual carbon copy of Beech’s first-half try, a rolling maul from a five metre lineout had Jersey going backwards and this time it was replacement Chris Walker who touched down beyond the whitewash.
Leonard kicked the conversion and Jersey’s lead was reduced to two.
The visitors were then reduced to 14 themselves when Gary Graham was sent to the bin for fighting after a penalty had been given.
That penalty became the platform for Carnegie to kick to the corner and push over the Jersey line. This time it was Mike Myerscough with the finish and Leonard’s conversion meant Headingley could breathe easy once more.
Yorkshire now had control and they secured the bonus point with Walker scoring again from another rolling maul.
Tom Ryder’s try from the last play of the game added the gloss to the scoreboard for Carnegie who had been made to work hard for the win.
Yorkshire Carnegie: Georgiou, Stegmann (J. Walker 49-54), Lucock, Fitzpatrick (Forsyth 60), Holmes, Leonard, Pilgrim, Beech (Imiolek 54), Nilsen (J. Walker 54), O’Donnell (Tideswell 67), Schofield (Ryder 54), Jones (c), Myerscough, Saull (C. Walker 64), Burrows.
Jersey: Lane, Howe, Otto (Adair 36-40), Robling, McCrea, Cope (Adair 74), Moates, McCarthy, Selway (Garcia Veiga 54), Featherstone (Herriott 52), Campbell, Phillips, Rae (c), Freeman, Haining (Graham 46).
Referee: Andrew Jackson.