Yorkshire Carnegie head coach Bryan Redpath believes their 27-5 win on the final day of the regular season sets them up for an assault on the Championship play-offs next term.
Carnegie have ended the season with other clubs looking ominously over their shoulder at a side who have won four out of five under the former Sale Sharks boss.
Redpath said: “We have to look at a lot of the positive sides that have come out of the last five or six weeks.”
“There has been a massive improvement in what I’ve seen, we’ve got a 12-week pre-season so we’ll enjoy this one and move onto next year.”
“There’ll probably be about seven or eight new signings coming in in the close season, sadly you lose players, you don’t retain players and players move on which is never an easy time for anyone.”
After an attritional opening 14 minutes with the set piece dominating, Carnegie opened the scoring with a Harry Leonard penalty from out wide after Pirates were pinged for a deliberate knock on.
Those three points appeared to give the hosts more confidence and they won another penalty at the breakdown which Leonard slotted over from in front of the posts.
Yorkshire thought they had extended their lead further when bulldozing centre James Fitzpatrick bounced off a couple of tackles to dive over, but the try was chalked off when the referee judged the hosts to be guilty of crossing.
On the stroke of half-time Carnegie scored the game’s first try when Sam Egerton’s dummy created space and his slaloming run took him over the whitewash.
Former Edinburgh fly-half Leonard then completed the relatively simple kick for his first conversion of the match.
The scrappy nature of the contest continued into the second half but Yorkshire went further in front when Chris Walker’s smart offload allowed England Sevens-bound Egerton over for his second try and Leonard kicked the conversion.
The try was Egerton’s seventh in 11 appearances in the white of Yorkshire Carnegie, underlying the hole that will be felt when he moves on to pastures new.
Pirates continued to be resolute in defence but Pete Lucock’s crossfield chip carved them open and Oli Goss gathered to score in the corner.
With minutes left, Carnegie were close to holding a side to zero in the league for the first time since a 104-0 win against Manchester in April 2009, but Pirates avoided that embarrassment, although only just.
With their only meaningful piece of play in the Yorkshire 22, Pirates retained possession allowing Marlen Walker to barge his way over, but Lawrence May pulled his conversion wide to cap a thoroughly miserable afternoon for the visitors.
Yorkshire Carnegie: Georgiou, Goss (McIlwaine 71), Lucock, Fitzpatrick (L Jones 69), Prell, Leonard, Egerton, Beech (Imiolek 49), J Walker (Nilsen 60), Hill (Tideswell 60), Harris (Bainbridge 64), Smith, Myerscough (C Jones 49), C. Walker, Burrows (c).
Cornish Pirates: Holland, Goss (Hopkin 44), Hendrickson (Riley 40), James, Pope, May, Homer (Townsend 67), Andrew (Walker 67), Innard (Elloway 44), Paver (Jamieson 50), Graulich, Barry (c), Parker, Atkinson, Bolwell (Lowry 60).
Referee: Steve Lee (RFU).