YORKSHIRE CARNEGIE are capable of mounting a serious challenge at the top end of the Championship, prop Charlie Beech reckons.
With six games played, Carnegie are sixth in the table, one place and three points behind Sunday’s visitors Bedford.
Yorkshire have lost only twice in the league this season, with three wins and a draw, but one of those defeats was last time out at Richmond.
That was a blow to the team’s confidence, but Beech reckons they are in good shape.
“It’s a long season,” said the 30-year-old forward.
“We are only a couple of games in and I think we will do well.
“There is a really good vibe behind the squad.
“We had a couple of bad weeks, but we have really knitted together this year and we’re all behind the coaches – we have a lot of faith in where we’re going and what we’re doing.”
James Lowes is in his second spell as Carnegie’s team boss.
He took over from Bryan Redpath in the closed-season and Beech said the fact he is familiar with the club – and some of the squad have played under him in the past – has helped with the transition.
“A few of us worked with Jimmy before when he was here,” he pointed out. “We all buy into his ethos and his game plan.
“There’s always a transition with any coach, but it does help he’s been here before and worked with a few of us before.
“When I signed here originally he was the head coach then. There’s a few old faces in the same situation, so it’s good.”
The loss at Richmond was followed by a British & Irish Cup setback away to Jersey, but Carnegie got off the mark in that competition with a hard-fought 19-8 victory against London Scottish last Sunday.
Beech reckons last week’s cup win has lifted confidence ahead of Sunday’s game.
He said: “We have come off the back of a hard couple of weeks so to get a win leading back into the Championship competition is great for us.
“It gives us a bit of confidence and shows us that when we put the work in it works for us.
“The boys put in a really solid performance.
“The last 20 minutes showed what we are capable of and I think we earned it through hard work in the first 60.
“The maturity we’ve got in the squad now showed. Pete Lucock and Richard Beck have both played more than 100 games for the club so there was some experience out there, but it also showed the quality we’ve got coming through.
“We had some young lads out there and they all showed up well.”
Scottish fielded a strong team and Beech added: “Credit to them, they brought a decent side and took it seriously.
“You play some cup competitions and people put out second-string squads. They didn’t. Our whole team put in a good performance, but the young lads really shone through which is very good news for us going forward.”
Yorkshire’s forwards laid the platform for their backs to shine in the second half last week.
“They were outstanding,” Beech said of Carnegie’s backline. “There were some really good phases of rugby for them, which is how it should be.
“The forward pack get some dominance and the ball back and the backs do something special with it.”