Carnegie edge penalty and points bat­tle against Don­caster

Yorkshire Post - Sports Monday - - RUGBY UNION - PE­TER SMITH AT BRANTINGHAM PARK ■ Email: pe­[email protected]­me­dia.co.uk ■ Twit­ter: @PeterSmithYEP

YORK­SHIRE CARNEGIE drew first blood with vic­tory in the open­ing leg of a white rose quadru­ple-header, but it was not the 33-20 score­line or his side’s per­for­mance which left Don­caster Knights’ di­rec­tor of rugby Clive Grif­fiths dis­ap­pointed and frus­trated af­ter­wards.

Grif­fiths, back at the helm af­ter a heart at­tack two months ago, felt the to­tal of 33 penal­ties spoiled the Cham­pi­onship Cup tie, played at Hull Io­ni­ans’ Brantingham Park, and pre­vented ei­ther side from find­ing any rhythm.

Don­caster came off slightly worse, be­ing pe­nalised 17 times and in the end it was York­shire full-back Ja­cob Umaga’s fault­less goal kick­ing which proved the dif­fer­ence between the teams.

On loan from Wasps, he landed four penal­ties and con­verted both Carnegie’s firsthalf tries be­fore a thigh in­jury ended his par­tic­i­pa­tion.

York­shire led 26-3 at half-time and were 30 points ahead with 14 min­utes left. Then their first try scorer, Dan Temm, was sin­binned for per­sis­tent of­fend­ing and al­most im­me­di­ately Don­caster scored their first touch­down through Ben Hunter.

On 74 min­utes, York­shire were re­duced, briefly, to 13 men when a shoul­der charge led to Will Brit­ton be­ing yel­low carded. Cur­tis Wil­son ran in a fine solo try within mo­ments and Hunter added his sec­ond – fol­low­ing Temm’s re­turn – in stop­page time.

Don­caster were press­ing for an­other try, to pos­si­bly earn two bonus points, when the fi­nal whis­tle blew. All three of their touch­downs – the first con­verted by Dougie Flock­hart who also kicked a penalty in the open­ing pe­riod – came af­ter they had won a li­ne­out from a free-kick, but Grif­fiths was un­happy with the stut­ter­ing na­ture of the game.

He paid full trib­ute to York­shire’s per­for­mance, but said: “Both teams wanted to play, but it was a stop-start af­fair.

“It [so many penal­ties] is daft. We had the wrath of the ref­eree early doors and they had nine points on the board be­fore we knew it. They didn’t do much in the first half to get the points they did; they had an in­ter­cep­tion, four penalty goals and an in­ter­cep­tion on our 22.

“That was their points and we said if we stay pos­i­tive and don’t let our heads drop we will score points against them. The one op­por­tu­nity we had we scored, but it was chalked off for an ob­struc­tion which we see ev­ery week.

“In the sec­ond half we were dom­i­nant and we got a bit of par­ity then be­cause there was about nine high shots by York­shire and even­tu­ally they got yel­low carded.

“I don’t want to see peo­ple go­ing off for in­nocu­ous high shots that don’t hurt any­body, but that’s the life we’ve got in front of us at the mo­ment and it is very frus­trat­ing for spec­ta­tors, play­ers and coaches alike.”

Don­caster’s sec­ond-half per­for­mance will give them con­fi­dence for Satur­day’s home re­turn, plus the league game at Cas­tle Park later next month and a fi­nal meet­ing between the teams in April.

“There were lots of pos­i­tives for us, I thought the two kids [Sam Jones and Seth Adams] came on and were great,” added Grif­fiths. “That was their se­nior de­but, but the lu­di­crous sit­u­a­tion for them is they can’t go back and play for York­shire 20s or Eng­land coun­ties be­cause they’ve gone on and played 14 min­utes to­day. Those are ar­chaic laws.”

Temm took ad­van­tage of a Don­caster fum­ble in the con­tact to gal­lop over for York­shire’s first try and young­ster James Davey in­ter­cepted a pass from Paul Jarvis, whose touch­down had been ruled out ear­lier in the half, to add a sec­ond. Chris El­der grabbed the third, im­proved by Jade Te Rure.

It was Carnegie’s sec­ond win in three cup ties and third of the sea­son over­all. Their di­rec­tor of rugby Chris Ster­ling re­flected: “The first half was prob­a­bly some of the best rugby we’ve played this year. “That was pleas­ing. I thought our com­po­sure was good, they tried to get un­der our skins, but we an­swered back by dom­i­nat­ing at set-piece and kick­ing our goals to get our nose in front. I thought we were quite clin­i­cal in the first 40.”

Of the sin-bin­nings, he ad­mit­ted: “The tackle law is what it is – we’ve just got to get bet­ter at it.”

PIC­TURE: BRUCE ROLLINSON

TACKLE COUNT: Don­caster’s Cur­tis Wil­son, cen­tre, goes down low in an at­tempt to stop York­shire’s Ja­cob Umaga.

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