Nottingham 17 Yorkshire Carnegie 24: Carnegie hold their nerve for third win on the spin

Richard Mayhew, who scored a vital try for Yorkshire Carnegie at Nottingham on his return from injury.
Richard Mayhew, who scored a vital try for Yorkshire Carnegie at Nottingham on his return from injury.
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A hat-trick of tries from replacement TJ Harris rescued a losing bonus point for Nottingham at The Bay on Boxing Day, but it wasn’t enough to deny high-flying Yorkshire Carnegie their third win on the spin.

Joe Ford slotted an early penalty, before Richard Mayhew wrapped-up first-half proceedings with a try in the 38th minute.

Carnegie managed to exploit an overlap and Mayhew celebrated his return from injury with a well-worked five-pointer. Ford converted, leaving Yorkshire 10 up at half-time.

The visitors were reduced to 14 men just before the break when Ollie Steadman was sent to the sin-bin.

Yorkshire continued the scoring after half-time and were rewarded with a penalty try – referee Fergus Curby had no alternative after Carnegie’s scrum had pushed the Nottingham pack well over its own try line – before replacement Rob O’Donnell scored the visitor’s final points of the game, driving over from the base of a ruck. Ford once again added the extras.

It could have been very different had Callum Hall’s ‘score’ on 22 minutes stood, but the final pass in difficult, windy conditions was deemed forward.

And the conditions played their part just a few earlier when rapid-fire passing found Morris on the wing, but the flanker struggled to keep hold of the ball and Carnegie cleared their lines.

So, at 24-0 to the visitors it should have been all over, but TJ Harris scored with his first touch, driving the ball over the line from the base of the maul.

The hooker’s second try came seven minutes later, this time breaking from a maul and sprinting clear.

Lawrence Rayner failed to convert but the fly-half was in action again moments later.

The pressure mounted even further when O’Donnell became the second Yorkshire player to be sin-binned in the closing stages.

And Harris completed his hat-trick in the 79th minute, in an identical score to his first.

Rayner converted the final try. Nottingham attempted to play out from the re-start, but Yorkshire kept their defensive wall up while the Green and Whites couldn’t keep hold of possession to score another vital try.

Victory in the east Midlands over the holiday keeps Yorkshire in second place in the Championship standings, just seven points behind top-of-the-table London Irish.

Sir Ian McGeechan was taken unwell in New Zealand.

Yorkshire's Sir Ian McGeechan taken to hospital in New Zealand