yorkshire Carnegie inched into the British and Irish Cup final after a thrilling 33-32 victory over Jersey.
Carnegie started poorly and when a stray pass from Chris Pilgrim in his own 22 was not picked up by Kevin Sinfield, that allowed Jersey to build up pressure on the Yorkshire line.
The Islanders broke through with Nick Haining burrowing his way over in the corner.
A series of quick off-loads then released Joe Graham who carved through the Jersey defence and his reverse pass found Andy Forsyth who ran over under the posts. Sinfield added the simple conversion.
Bryan Redpath’s men were now playing some of their best attacking rugby of the season.
This time it was the endeavour of Sinfield that took him past a couple of defenders on the wing and his pass inside allowed Taylor Prell to score the second try. Jersey made a mess of a ball bouncing around in their 22 and when they failed to clear it fell to prop Rob O’Donnell who showed a smart turn of speed to cross in the corner. From nowhere Jersey got themselves back into the contest with the game’s next try.
From a five-metre lineout the visitors’ drive pushed Carnegie backwards and James Freeman was able to dot it down. Brendan Cope added the extras to cut the deficit to just seven points.
That lead was cut to two when the Carnegie defence was caught napping and full-back Ross Adair rolled through a couple of tackles to level things up at three tries apiece.
But a quick penalty tap from Chris Walker got Carnegie going again and Holmes dived over for the fourth try. Sinfield’s conversion from out wide then brought the curtain down on a breathless 40 minutes of rugby.
Back came Jersey straight after the interval and Adair brushed off Sinfield to dive over in the corner for his second score and cut the lead to just four.
After a period of relative calm following a frenetic opening 50 minutes, the Carnegie backs worked the ball out wide and Ryan Burrows went rampaging over.
Sinfield’s conversion took the lead to 11.
But just when Carnegie thought they might be able to breathe a bit easier, a Jersey driving maul put them on the back foot and replacement Uili Kolo’ofa’i touched down.
The wayward kicking of Lewis Robling kept the score to just five.
Then the big Tongan’s second try, once again from the back of a maul, took the Islanders to within one.
But the conversion was missed and, after Jersey were shown two late yellow cards, Carnegie clung on, but only just.
Yorkshire Carnegie: Holmes, Goss, Forsyth, Casson (Burdon), Prell, Sinfield, Pilgrim, Beech (Imiolek 64), Graham (Nilsen 61), O’Donnell (Tideswell 61), Schofield (Ryder 51), Smith, Jones (Saull 71), Walker, Burrows (c). Not used: Hodgson.
Jersey: Adair, Howe, Evans (McCrea 79), Robling, Lane, Cope, Dudley (Fisilau 40), Lockwood (Lancuba 64), Buckle (Selway 51), Kerrod, Campbell, Phillips, Rae, Freeman (Graham 64), Haining (Kolo’ofa’i 58).
Referee: Sean Gallagher.