Yorkshire Carnegie head coach Bryan Redpath could not hide his frustration after seeing his side miss a golden opportunity to move back top of the Greene King IPA Championship, conceding 22 points in the final 18 minutes of the game at Goldington Road.
The visitors seemed set to return to the summit of the league when replacement Joel Hodgson finished off a spectacular move for his side’s third try of the game. The move had started with winger Seb Stegmann attacking from deep in his own half and involved nearly every player in an impressive display of continuity rugby before Hodgson cut back inside to score between the posts. Leonard kicked his third conversion of the game to make it 21-0.
However, Yorkshire failed to close out the game from there.
“We had two opportunities in the first half that we should have taken and I thought at half-time that 14-0 may not be enough given the strength of the wind we enjoyed in the first half,” admited Redpath. “We had a chance to win the game at 21-7 but we made errors that handed the momentum to Bedford and they punished us.”
Bedford appeared to have scored a consolation try when replacement forward Camilo Parilli-Ocampo dived over from close range but the home side had other ideas. The visitors were reduced to 14 men with Jonah Holmes in the sin bin for off-side at a ruck and Bedford made their advantage count when full-back Steffan Jones made the extra man out wide to score. Jake Sharp was only able to convert one of the tries and with less than five minutes to play, Redpath expected his team to secure the result.
Having gained a penalty at a scrum, Leonard kicked for touch as his team went in search of the try bonus point instead of potentially securing the points from the kick at goal. When Bedford managed to repel the threat and clear the ball up field, it bounced away from Pete Lucock before Bedford’s Jordan Burns appeared to knock on only for the referee to wave play on and George Perkins, who had put in the original kick, collected and scored.
The conversion was added but Carnegie still had the chance to close the game out but they were caught in possession on the halfway line and referee O’Grady handed Steffan Jones the chance to win the game with virtually the last kick of the game, which he duly did for an unlikely outcome. Carnegie had controlled the game well in the first half having scored tries from driven line outs through Lee Imiolek and a penalty try. But they could have had more points on the scoreboard had they executed their plays better and taken full advantage of the strong wind.
As it was, Carnegie remain in second spot heading into a two-week break from the league for the British & Irish Cup. Redpath will be hoping his side, including the onlooking Kevin Sinfield who was not selected for this game, will have learnt some valuable lessons from this defeat for the remainder of this crucial season.
Bedford: Steffan Jones, George Perkins, Michael Le Bourgeois, Tom Griffiths (Jake Sharp 62), Dean Adamson (James Pritchard 72), Myles Dorrian, Peter White (Jordan Burns 62), Alex Lundberg (Sam James 63), Charlie Clare, Biyi Alo (Camilo Parilli-Ocampo 51), Harry Wells (Mike Howard 51), Mark Flanagan, Nick Fenton-Wells (C), Josh Buggea, Paul Tupai (Joel Conlon 51).
Yorkshire Carnegie: Jonah Holmes, Seb Stegmann, Andy Forsyth, Tom Casson (Pete Lucock 31), Christian Georgiou (Joel Hodgson 43), Harry Leonard, Matt Dudman, Lee Imiolek (Charlie Beech 47), Jack Walker (Phil Nilsen 62), Rob O’Donnell, Mike Myerscough, Matt Smith (Tom Ryder 47), Chris Jones (C, Jack Barnard 69), Josh Bainbridge, Ryan Burrows. Replacements not used: Gareth Milasinovich
Referee: Matthew O’Grady
Around the leagues
Morley continued their unbeaten run at Dinnington but only after overcoming a 19-point deficit in North One East.
The Maroons have only dropped points in the draw at Morpeth but knew that they would have to show their mettle against a side just two places below them in the table. Dinnington took a 16-0 lead and improved it with a penalty before prop Ben Bell crashed over and skipper Mark Chester converted. Three minutes later outside centre Richard Knowles crossed and Chester again converted for 19-14.
With only two minutes remaining, full-back Dante ven der Merwe broke through the defence to level the scores, leaving Chester to convert for a 21-19 victory.
Otley made it four wins from five in National 2 North with a battling 17-3 success at a rain-lashed Preston Grasshoppers.
The hosts led 3-0 at the midway stage but sustained pressure after the break allowed winger Gareth Newman to get away for a well-taken try converted by captain Stephen Depledge. A penalty extended the advantage to 10-3.
Preston were reduced to 14 men, which immediately allowed second-row Declan Dunn to burst through for a try from a catch and drive and Depledge’s conversion completed a good day’s work.
Sandal found themselves on the back of successive defeats for the first time this season after losing 29-3 at Macclesfield.
Having slipped to a two-point defeat at home to Sale last time out, Sandal were targeting a positive response against the current front-runners. However, a yellow card in the early stages for winger Simon Frewin cost them 10 points early on.
Despite pulling back a penalty by fly-half Greg Wood they were 15-3 down at the break after conceding a second try. The home side’s lead was extended to 22-3 after Macclesfield’s Elliott Brierly got away for his ninth try in nine games and the hosts sewed up a bonus point in the latter stages from a scrum to cap a miserable afternoon for Sandal.
One of the youngest sides ever fielded by Harrogate earned them a 25-22 victory at Sale.
Vastly superior scrummaging laid the platform for success.
Wharfedale lit up the first half at Rosslyn Park, but eventually lost out 26-15 on the glistening artificial surface.