Yorkshire Carnegie produced their finest performance of the season with a six try demolition of promotion-chasing Nottingham.
It was by no means a perfect 80 minutes, but after the debacle at Doncaster, the result and performance was a real tonic after the humbling in South Yorkshire.
There were three tries for Jonah Holmes and head coach Tommy McGee said: “It was really good, particularly the last try which showed an all-encompassing spirit where everyone was involved in the move.
“It’s a completely different changing room to eight days ago and I’m pleased with the way the guys responded after the disappointment at Doncaster.
“I was very pleased with the set-piece, that was the foundation; that was where we got that win from.
“We try to play positively and Richard Beck was outstanding, doing his job very well on his lineout defence. The set-piece was outstanding but it needs to be every week because if we do that we’ll give ourselves a chance.
“We now can’t look past the Rotherham game next week, Doncaster is still very much fixed in our minds as are a number of other games.
“To find that consistency we just need players doing their part and doing the basics very, very well and that’s what I’ll keep working on until we get to the point where our key players are playing consistently well.
“We will still have some of those ups and downs, but I thought emotionally and energy-wise we were completely different today and that’s the minimum requirement.”
After an attritional start from both sides, a Carnegie penalty allowed them to attack from a lineout and a strong rolling maul enabled skipper Ryan Burrows to crash over for the opening score.
Carnegie increased their lead with a Harry Leonard penalty on 30 metres after Nottingham were penalised for bringing down the scrum.
The home side were then almost made to pay for Leonard missing touch from a penalty in his own 22, but despite numerous phases Martin Haag’s men could not take advantage and all their phases fizzled out.
A smart pass inside from Leonard then released Holmes to race over from 35 metres and former Edinburgh fly-half Leonard converted.
Carnegie were dominating the set-piece and Nottingham’s task was made even harder when prop Campese Ma’afu was sent to the sin-bin for continued infringements in the scrum.
Despite being a man down, Nottingham came closest to the next score.
Auguy Slowik dropped a pass in his own half and with Pila Iongi bearing down on the try line, the Bristol loanee showed a smart turn of speed to recover and make a try-saving tackle.
Nottingham were then shown their second yellow card of the afternoon when Shaun Malton was sent to the sin-bin for pulling down the maul with Carnegie well set and bearing down on the try line.
A fast break from Christian Georgiou created a good attacking platform from which Carnegie scored their third.
A smart chip ahead from Leonard and a friendly bounce allowed Holmes to collect and slalom his way past two defenders to cross the whitewash. Leonard added the extras.
A quick break from the impressive Sam Egerton allowed Georgiou to dive over for the bonus-point try and replacement Louis Grimoldby added the two points.
Haag’s men got their first points of the afternoon when a smart offload allowed Javiah Pohe to hold off the attentions of Georgiou and crash over and Tiff Eden converted. A dream of a pass from the bottom of a ruck created space for Pete Lucock who charged through the visitors’ defence and flicked the ball out of the back of his hand for Jarad Williams to barge his way over and Grimoldby added the extras.
But Nottingham scored their second try through replacement prop Michael Holford and Eden’s tricky conversion from the touch- line made it through the posts.
However, the afternoon belonged to the home side and a sweeping move involving a number of players allowed Holmes to complete his hat-trick and Grimoldby’s conversion brought the curtain down on a thoroughly satisfactory afternoon’s rugby.
Carnegie are now just nine points adrift of fourth place.
Yorkshire Carnegie: Georgiou, Slowik, Goss, Lucock, Holmes, Leonard (Grimoldby 51), Egerton (Pilgrim 65), Beech (Harris 61), Nilsen (Graham 61), Tideswell (Hooper 66), Myerscough (Joyce 65), Jones (Smith 51), Williams, Beck, Burrows.
Nottingham: Robinson (Carpenter 29), Hough, Styles, Pohe, Iongi, Lynn (Eden 46), Romans (Smit 57), Ma’afu (Holford 62), Malton (Vickers 62), Carey, Freeman, Price, Calladine (Holford 36-46), Wilson (Everard 69), Grant.
Referee: Greg MacDonald (RFU).