Head coach Bryan Redpath is backing Yorkshire Carnegie’s continued improvement after watching his side secure their second win of the season despite poor elements to the performance.
Redpath said: “I thought the performance was good in parts and poor in others. I think when we had the ball in the first half we looked really dangerous but we just didn’t keep it for long enough or create enough pressure and I think Nottingham came with a game plan and executed it very well in the first half.
“I thought Jonah Holmes was outstanding and the best player on the pitch and it was great to see him get some space and to finish off the tries the way he did was exceptional.
“There were negatives in the game and we know we can be a lot better and we have to look at that next week.”
Nottingham made a strong start and were rewarded with a try after four minutes from a line-out by Tom Heard. Lawrence Rayner added the conversion to make it 0-7.
Carnegie hit back almost immediately with a superb solo effort from Jonah Holmes. After picking up the ball in his own half, the full-back showed his confidence to run around five Nottingham defenders as he sprinted to the corner on six minutes. Joe Ford was unable to add the conversion so Carnegie still trailed 5-7.
Ford made amends for the missed conversion with a drop goal, the 12th of his Carnegie career, after a series of phases for Carnegie.
In the opening 20 minutes Carnegie showed glimmers of their attacking potential and, on 14 minutes, Holmes grabbed another impressive try.
From a driving maul Davies distributed the ball quickly to Ford. The fly-half then passed to the on running Seb Stegmann, who spotted the supporting Holmes and the full-back stepped inside Vili Hakalo and under the posts. Ford landed the conversion to give the home side a 15-7 lead.
Nottingham closed the gap following good work from number 8 Shaun Buckley, who powered his way through before getting the ball to prop Murray McConnel who dived over under the posts. This time Rayner was on target.
In the second quarter momentum switched in favour of the visitors and there was a huge let-off for Carnegie when Calum Hall dropped the ball just short of the line. Both sides were guilty of giving away penalties and, with five minutes to go in the half after another Nottingham infringement, Ford kicked to make it 18-14.
Before the break Rayner pushed his penalty from close the halfway line wide of the upright, and within three minutes of the restart he did the same again.
Nottingham enjoyed a large proportion of possession in the second half and controlled the game well. Both teams had chances from driving mauls, but were held short and overall the half was disjointed.
On 67 minutes after winning a penalty at the maul Ford kicked his second penalty of the game to make it 21-14. Nottingham kept up the pressure and earned a penalty, when Dan Sanderson collapsed the maul, for which he also earned a yellow card.
Nottingham immediately made the most of their extra man and this time their driving maul proved too strong as they powered Jimmy Stephens over for a try.
Crucially again Rayner could not land the conversion so Carnegie still had a 21-19 lead.
Although the second half wasn’t the most entertaining spectacle on 78 minutes there was another excellent piece of skill from the backs. Good vision and a perfectly placed kick to the corner from Joe Ford set up Prell for the team’s third try. Ford’s conversion went wide but Carnegie had a 26-19 lead going into the final minutes.
There was late drama when Nottingham were able to spread the ball wide across the Carnegie line and create an overlap that allowed Poulett to find his way through the gap for a last minute try.
Rayner stepped up for the conversion, which would earn Nottingham a deserved draw, but luckily for Carnegie the fly-half once again pushed his attempt wide with the final kick of the game.