TWO-TRY Richard Beck ensured in-form Leeds Carnegie delivered the win that keeps them right in contention for promotion back to the Premiership.
The flanker celebrated his 50th club appearance with a crucial brace as Jimmy Lowes’ side moved to within four points of new Championship leaders Bristol with a game still in hand.
Electric Leeds had cruised into a 25-0 lead against Nottingham after just 44 minutes, showing all the power, pace and panache of a team destined for bigger things.
Admittedly, they slackened off allowing their opponents – who beat them at Doncaster on the opening day – to have a sniff.
But Beck, sidelined until mid-November by injury, emerged on the end of a line-out drive six minutes from time for his second to seal a vital bonus point win.
On the 24 year-old Academy product’s development, Lowes said: “I think they are all growing and developing, not just Richard.
“He had a bit of a shaky start (this season) with his injury but he’s a quality player.
“We’re pleased he’s with us and the more he plays the better he will get He deserved man of the match today and he’s got a bright future in rugby.”
The Carnegie boss, who takes his side to Plymouth on Saturday, took some of the blame for Leeds’ slumber in the second period.
“I’m happy with the win but just a little disappointed with a couple of patches where we got scrappy,” he said. “We had 15 minutes after we scored early in the second half where we lost complete control of the game. I take a bit of responsibility for that myself.
“I’ve tried my best over this Christmas period to give the lads as much time away with their families as possible and what happens there is training becomes very patchy.
“I think that showed in our performance as we lost a bit of direction and concentration but that schedule was my call.”
Wing David Doherty and prop James Currie scored first-half tries with Glyn Hughes scoring 10 points with his boot as slick Leeds continually opened them up. Carnegie also overcame the eighth minute loss of Jacob Rowan, the concussed captain going to hospital for tests after a nasty line-out fall.
Shaun Jones came on and impressed while hapless Nottingham failed to get into the hosts’ 22 until injury-time. Beck then crashed over for his first but the visitors replied via Brent Wilson and Sean Romans, Rory Lynn converting twice.
Beck got his second, however, before Stevie McColl and Tom Calladine were sin-binned for fighting in the 80th minute, Ryan Hough scoring a consolation try soon after.
Leeds, who saw Rob Vickerman make his second debut, attracted a crowd of 3,168, their biggest since being relegated two-and-a-half years ago.
Leeds: McColl; Holmes, Griffin, Burdon, Doherty; Hughes (Lozowski 65), Hampson (Vickerman 62); Harris (Graham 71), Nilsen (Imiolek 71), Currie (Hooper 71), Hannay, Green (Myerscough 53), Beck, Doyle, Rowan (Jones 8).
Nottingham: Savage; Purdy, Catchpole, Munro, Styles (Hough 13); Lynn, Romans (Barnham 60); Ma’afu; Vickers (Bower 60), Holford (Walker 55), Keogh, Montagu, Calladine, Wilson, Burton.
Referee: D Richards (RFU).