Yorkshire Carnegie earned a bonus point 43-22 victory with seven tries against Dragons Premiership Select at Huddersfield YMCA on Saturday.
Josh Bainbridge was selected as captain in his 49th appearance for the club and there was a debut for Leeds Beckett winger Harry Robinson who was named in the starting line-up, while fly-half Harry Davey returned to the side.
There was also debuts for Will Vaughan, who joined the club on loan from Bath, plus tight head prop Xavier Valentine, flanker Trystan Lloyd and fly-half Michael Waters, who have all been part of the in-form Leeds Beckett side this season.
The visitors were rewarded for their early pressure when Callum Morris raced over in the corner, but Dorian Jones was unable to add the conversion.
Carnegie hit back when Harry Newborn was driven over from close range for their opening try. Davey was unable to give his side the lead as his conversion attempt drifted off target.
The Dragons nudged further ahead on 18 minutes when Jon Goodridge picked up the ball from a perfectly placed crossfield and ran over for the Dragons’ second. Once again Dorian Jones was unable to add the extras.
Despite being 10-5 behind the hosts were beginning to look more dominant and on 22 minutes debutant Robinson’s try to level things.
After earning two quick penalties, Carnegie increased the pressure and following a long period camped on the Dragons line they spread the ball across the field to Chris Elder, who weaved his way through the defence for his first try of the afternoon. Davey added the conversion to extend his side’s lead to 17-10 going in at the break.
Carnegie made a positive start to the second half and were rewarded with their third try on 44 minutes.
Matt Smith made the initial break to set up Atkins for his first try for the club which secured the try bonus point. Davey again added the conversion to make it 24-10.
Chase Smith reduced the gap with the Dragons’ third try but a fightback did not look like it was on the cards for the Welsh outfit and five minutes later Carnegie were in again, when Atkins scooped up the ball from a cross-field kick from Davey and got the ball out wide to the supporting Louis Brown and the young winger raced clear to the corner.
Then Elder intercepted and sprinted from deep in his own half for his second try under the posts. Davey’s conversion bringing the score to 36-15 with 18 minutes to play.
Another interception led to the next try. This time Dan Sanderson stole possession for Carnegie in his own half and raced to the halfway line before offloading to the supporting Elder, and the centre put his foot down to claim his hat-trick.
Davey’s conversion had put Carnegie comfortably ahead at 43-15, before James Leadbetter found a gap to dive over for a consolation try improved by Stefan Jones.