KNIGHTS TOP­PLED

York­shire Carnegie storm the ram­parts at Cas­tle Park with derby win

Yorkshire Post - Sports Monday - - FRONT PAGE - Dave Craven AT CAS­TLE PARK ■ [email protected]­me­dia.co.uk ■ @DCravenYPS­port

FEW teams will look for­ward to 2019 as much as York­shire Carnegie.

Ad­mit­tedly, Satur­day’s im­por­tant vic­tory at Don­caster Knights meant they only lifted off the bot­tom of the Cham­pi­onship ta­ble by a mar­gin of a soli­tary point so they still have a mas­sive fight ahead.

How­ever, it rep­re­sented so much more and was the ideal way to end what had been a tu­mul­tuous first half to the cam­paign.

In­deed, if Chris Elder had not come to the res­cue with a glo­ri­ous in­di­vid­ual try in the 68th minute, all the pos­i­tiv­ity built via five wins from six Cham­pi­onship Cup games, could eas­ily have been shred­ded in an in­stant.

Carnegie would have been back to square one. But this morn­ing, hav­ing fi­nally added to their only pre­vi­ous league win on Septem­ber 9 and with their raft of new sign­ings bed­ding in nicely, they are look­ing only one way.

“That vic­tory was hugely im­por­tant for our plans for the sea­son,” ad­mit­ted di­rec­tor of rugby Chris Stir­ling af­ter the bonus point suc­cess saw them swap places with Hartpury.

“We can draw a line un­der those first nine games. I think we did that with our cup per­for­mances then we turned around and put in an­other per­for­mance here.

“I’m ex­tremely, ex­tremely happy with the out­come.

“We’ve got a long way to go as the per­for­mance is still nowhere near what it should be.

“We’re in­con­sis­tent. The first 20 min­utes of the sec­ond half was pos­si­bly some of our worst rugby we’ve played all sea­son.

“We re­ally went out of our way to bring Don­caster back into the match but credit to the team that they were able to dig deep and turn that around and come away with a good vic­tory.”

No 8 Rory Pit­man drove over for Don­caster’s open­ing try in the 19th minute but Carnegie scored two splen­did ef­forts in quick suc­ces­sion.

Dan Temm crossed fol­low­ing a fine break by Pete Lu­cock and then scrum-half JB Bruzulier, af­ter one of the clever­est line-out moves you will see this sea­son, surged through un­touched as flanker Josh Bain­bridge wheeled away to fool the Don­caster de­fence.

Ol­lie St­ed­man re­sponded for Knights, who trailed 15-12 at the break but they started the sec­ond pe­riod far more as­sertive, di­rect and cut­ting.

When Henry Se­niloli dashed over on the left wing af­ter a clever line-out move in the 50th minute, Kurt Mo­rath con­verted and soon added a penalty to put Clive Grif­fiths’s side on top.

From there, it seemed the hosts – with Pit­man and lock Josh Tyrell punch­ing holes as well as winger Cur­tis Wil­son and full­back Cameron Cow­ell’s threat­en­ing with pace – would kick on and earn a rare vic­tory of their own.

How­ever, cru­cially, Carnegie’s re­place­ments made a far greater im­pact, not least for­mer New Zealand Un­der-20s prop Tom Hill and ex-Wales front-row Craig Mitchell, two of those 10 sign­ings made in re­cent weeks.

They got back in it with a for­tu­nate try, young re­place­ment winger Harry Davey show­ing great speed af­ter latch­ing onto a hacked kick for­ward as a Don­caster break­down mal­func­tioned.

Elder missed the sim­ple con­ver­sion at­tempt to leave his side still trail­ing 22-20.

It could have been dis­as­trous but the winger, who had switched to full-back by this point, pro­duced a stun­ning solo con­verted try just three min­utes later, weav­ing through mid­field with grace.

Elder added a penalty, too, and Don­caster failed to rally.

They had an op­por­tu­nity in stop­page-time when Hill was yel­low carded for a pro­fes­sional foul.

How­ever, af­ter an in­ter­minable wait as the TMO viewed footage, the penalty was re­versed af­ter Tyrell was deemed to have il­le­gally cleaned out Richard May­hew, the fit-again Carnegie cap­tain play­ing his first game since the open­ing day of the sea­son.

Tyrell was sin-binned and Don­caster’s hopes went with him.

Barns­ley-born lock Matt Smith made his 100th league ap­pear­ance for Carnegie but Stir­ling ad- mit­ted: “I thought our bench did a great job. When I looked at that, even though we were be­hind, I was con­fi­dent when we brought ours on it’d make a dif­fer­ence.

“You saw that even though we did make it hard for our­selves.

“With Chris’s try, I was wondering if he was go­ing to pass to Ge­orge (Watkins) on the wing but he went all the way and backed him­self.

“He’s re­ally come into a good vein of form. He’s do­ing a great job for us and step­ping in with the goal-kick­ing.

“(Wasps loa­nee) Jake Umaga has been goal-kick­ing for us in the last six weeks and he will be back in the next match. But I thought Chris did a great job for us and kicked an im­por­tant penalty to put us eight points clear.”

For Don­caster, it was a fa­mil­iar tale as they got into a win­ning po­si­tion but failed to fol­low through.

It was a fifth suc­ces­sive loss in all com­pe­ti­tions and – with just three league wins all sea­son – they are now dragged into the bat­tle at the bot­tom.

Carnegie have the mo­men­tum but, with key play­ers yet to re­turn and plenty of char­ac­ter, Knights should have enough to es­cape.

PIC­TURES: MARK BICKERDIKE

CARNEGIE CEL­E­BRATE: York­shire Carnegie’s Harry Davey, above, is con­grat­u­lated on his try by Josh Bain­bridge and Dan Temm. In­set, Don­caster’s Oliver Stead­man tests the vis­i­tors’ de­fence in the Cham­pi­onship en­counter at Cas­tle Park.

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