Yorkshire Carnegie’s positive start to the season continued with the notable scalp of an upwardly-mobile Cornish Pirates yesterday.
Pirates have been revitalised this season after a couple of years in the lower reaches, but the similarly re-energised Carnegie proved too much as they recorded their sixth successive league win to start the season.
A 35-28 verdict earned Bryan Redpath’s side a bonus point and keeps them within just a point of front-runners and promotion favourites London Irish.
After a couple of seasons where they have fallen short, particularly in the regular season, Yorkshire Carnegie are now looking stronger than ever in their bid to reclaim a place in the Premiership.
They started slowly at Mennaye Field, however, falling behind to a try down the blindside by back row Jake Parker, which was converted by Laurence May.
An interception by Alex Gray on his own 22-metre line proved the spark Carnegie required and as the ball was moved upfield, Ryan Burrows broke through, fed Joe Ford and Stevie McColl, who in turn released Jonah Holmes to cross.
Ford converted but two penalties from May kept Pirates in front.
However, two tries either side of half-time from Redpath’s men turned the game.
First, Rob O’Donnell barrelled over after a lineout, and then seven minutes into the second half, Phil Nilsen was at the back of a driving maul to touch down.
Ford’s accuracy made it an eight-point game, and even after a third May penalty, Richard Beck’s score after good pressure from Carnegie, stretched the lead further and gave the visitors the bonus point.
Pirates threatened with a converted Alex Dancer try as he broke through, but Carnegie were able to keep the hosts at arm’s length with a breakaway try from Joe Ford.
Cornish Pirates: T May, Moyle, Dancer, De Battista, Evans, L May, Day, Walker, Elloway, J. Andrew, Morgan, Beukeboom, Parker, Cheeseman, Lee. Replacements: Innard, P. Andrew, Gendall, Pascoe, Simmonds, Pope, Cargill.
Yorkshire Carnegie: McColl, Holmes, Gray, Lucock, Stegmann, Ford, Davies, Boyce, Nilsen, O’Donnell, Schofield, Smith, Beck, Saull, Burrows. Replacements: Graham, Imiolek, Thraves, Whetton, Mayhew, Green, Forsyth.