British & Irish Cup final: Carnegie crumble in final quarter to gift Welsh victory

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YORKSHIRE CARNEGIE head coach Bryan Redpath lamented his side’s profligacy as they suffered a 33-10 defeat to London Welsh in the British & Irish Cup final yesterday.

Trailing just 12-10 on the hour mark, they fell away badly in the final quarter having already squandered a raft of chances.

Yorkshire Carnegie players slump from the field following their British & Irish Cup final defeat to London Welsh  - at Headingley. PIC: Steve Riding

Yorkshire Carnegie players slump from the field following their British & Irish Cup final defeat to London Welsh - at Headingley. PIC: Steve Riding

Carnegie had beaten Welsh 31-28 away in the Championship only last week but this defeat – on home soil at Headingley, too – ended a five-match winning sequence.

Their usually potent line-out drive was dealt with comfortably by the visitors and Redpath admitted: “We created opportunities, maybe about six, but didn’t take them.

“Fair play to London Welsh – they created and took every one they had a chance at.

“They played very similar last week so they didn’t surprise us.

“But we just took our opportunities then and didn’t here having come out in the second half and got back to 12-10.

“Welsh then grew in strength and that shows, when you’ve got half a dozen injuries as well, you do suffer.

“On a whole, one of our goals was to get to this final. Sadly, it hasn’t gone our way but we’ve still got a game next week to focus on.”

Carnegie, whose sole try came from Chris Walker in the 43rd minute, play their penultimate Championship regular fixture at home to Nottingham next Sunday as they look to keep pressure on second-placed Doncaster Knights before the play-offs.

Carnegie’s best chances had come in the first period when winger Taylor Prell thought he had scored after the Welsh defence was prised open and he kicked on only to be ruled out due to a debatable knock-on.

Walker was denied, too, held up over the line, after a clever and well-worked short line-out move.

However, such clear-cut opportunities dried up in the second half when Rowland Phillips’ side – which had produced some remarkable results in their B&I Cup campaign – exerted their authority to claim a maiden title in front of 3,107 fans, an improvement on Carnegie’s average crowd, at least.

As disappointing as this final defeat was, Redpath insisted it would not derail their main bid of challenging for promotion.

“It’s not a massive loss,” he said. “We’d won five on the bounce and then suddenly lost one so it’s not a massive momentum swing.

“It’s just not our day and that happens.

“Jack Walker is hopefully back in the mix next week, though, and it’d be great to get a few others back –Jonah Holmes, Andy Forsyth, Pete Lucock and David Doherty.”

Yorkshire Carnegie: Hodgson; Goss, Wright, Casson (Burdon 65), Prell; Sinfield (Leonard 71), Pilgrim (Green 66); Beech (Imiolek 71), Nilsen (Graham 62), Tideswell (Hooper 62), Myerscough (Beck 65), Smith, Jones, C Walker, Burrows.

London Welsh: Elder; J Lewis, Armitage, Jewell, Drauninu; Carlisle (J Davies 78), R Lewis (O Barkley 78); Trevett (Marfo 77), Britton (Cooper 55), Gilding (Morris 55), McNally (Pienaar 79), West, Skuse, Hodson (Corker 79), Murphy.

Referee: Craig Evans (WRU).

Attendance: 3,107.