TEENAGE flanker Josh Bainbridge scored his first tries of the season as Yorkshire Carnegie won their derby against Doncaster Knights to stay top of the Championship.
Bainbridge, 19, crossed twice inside six minutes early in the second period last night to help his side take control of what had been a scrappy encounter.
Both times he profited from lineout drives as the hosts, despite missing a raft of front-row talent, began to exert their influence up front.
Rob Burrows then surged over from 25m for what proved to be the crucial score as the No8 picked up at the back of a scrum and splintered some weak Doncaster defence in the 73rd minute.
Their rivals would not let up and earned a bonus point when Ollie Stedman scored in injury-time, Dougie Flockhart holding his nerve with the tricky conversion.
Doncaster actually led 10-6 at the break courtesy of two smartly-taken tries from livewire winger Sam Edgerley.
However, Michael Heaney, the misfiring fly-half who did not return for the second period, missed both conversion attempts and a penalty to see Carnegie still in touching distance and able to strike.
Bryan Redpath’s side have picked up victories from five of their opening six league fixtures but this was far from fluent and they will have to improve vastly for the trip to second-placed Bristol a week tomorrow.
They gave a debut to England Under-18s prop Charlie Capps and Ben Black, who was drafted in from National League Two North side Sedgley Park to ease their front-row injury problems, only to then see blindside Mike Myerscough depart injured after just 21 minutes.
But Harry Leonard was in fine form with the boot slotting 12 points although the Carnegie No10 did see two kicks charged down to cause some unease.
The first one was blocked 20m from his own goalline by Brad Field offering Doncaster the opportunity for Edgerley to cross for his second try in the 31st minute.
The summer recruit had scored his first effort after just 126 seconds when Carnegie needlessly dropped the ball just inside their own half and Edgerley twice hacked on to punish them.
That sort of basic error was rife from both sides in a disappointing first period but Redpath’s side were the first to react in the second with Bainbridge’s brace.
Substitute Flockhart’s penalty just after the hour saw Doncaster still in the mix but Burrows – who had been otherwise strangely quiet – brought some raw power and class to end any hopes of a Knights victory at Headingley for the second year running.
Yorkshire Carnegie: Holmes; Stegmann, Forsyth, Fitzpatrick (Lucock 71), Georgiou; Leonard, Pilgrim; Beech (Capps 74), Nilsen (Walker 64), O’Donnell (Black 80), Schofield (Barnard 67), Jones, Myerscough (Ryder 21), Bainbridge, Burrows.
Doncaster Knights: Jarvis; Edgerley, Clark, Hurrell, Lewis (Flockhart 40); Heaney (Bryant 40), Field; List (Bergmanas 57), Stagg (Sproston 71), Quigley (John 61), Challinor (Young 40), Phelan, Makaafi (Shaw 57), Hills, Stedman.
Referee: Andrew Small
Author Simon Ravens will launch his book “Riverball” –the story of his journey following Division One side Wharfedale’s exploits over last season – at their home game with Darlington Mowden Park today (3pm)