RELIEVED Chris Elder admits he was elated to score the try that secured a win in Yorkshire Carnegie’s most important game “for a long time.”
The rangy winger produced a stunning 40m run to cut open Doncaster Knights’ midfield and cross in Saturday’s vital 30-22 victory at Castle Park.
It was only their second Championship success all season and, crucially, took them off bottom for the first time since September.
However, Elder had missed a simple conversion attempt just minutes earlier that left them still trailing 22-20 going into the final throes of the festive derby.
“It’s always a bit frustrating when that happens,” admitted the former Wasps player, who, in his defence, had been goalkicker in just three of the club’s previous games this season.
“I’ve not really been practicing kicking recently so then when you get called up like that, you have to stay relaxed and put it out of your mind for the rest of the game.
It meant when I ran through (to score) I did think ‘flippin ’eck, at least I’ve put that right!Chris Elder
“But it does play on your mind. It meant when I ran through (to score) I did think ‘flippin ’eck, at least I’ve put that right!’
“It was really pleasing. It came off the back of a great pattern of play which is exactly what we’re looking to do.
“I just did the end of it but the whole build-up was exactly how our team want to play and I’m sure that whole thing will be on our review and there’ll be a pat on the back for the whole team.”
After a disastrous start to the season, Carnegie are now back on track, winning five of six Championship Cup games to bolster confidence before their successful return to league action. They can now look ahead to the second half of the campaign with renewed belief and ex-London Welsh star Elder admitted: “That was the main thing.
“We went into the cup knowing that’s what we needed to change; we needed to use the cup to try some things out, get some of these new players settled in and make a difference.
“That went really, really well winning five of the six but then it’s a case of can you carry it through into the league?
“Saturday was probably the most important game we’ve had in a long time and, number one, we just needed the win.
“But to finish off in a bit of style, with a try bonus point, was brilliant.”
Elder, 26, had switched to full-back when he came up with the crucial score, his seventh try in 15 games this term.
After beating the initial line of defence with his pace and footwork, Carnegie director of rugby Chris Stirling thought Elder may have opted to use winger George Watkins to finish off the scintillating move.
“There’s always that little bit of judgement about what you can do and whether or not to be selfish,” recalled the player, who converted and added a penalty.
“It was a case of working out who was near me and my first thought was actually looking back inside. It stopped me from looking for George on my outside but it was pleasing and I know he’d have been there if I had have been caught.
“He’d get the offload and finish it. That’s the exciting thing; we’re starting to follow each other through and really look for those opportunities if the first guy doesn’t score.
“It happened with Dan Temm’s try in the first half as well and it’s exciting to see. That’s what we’re aiming for.”