Yorkshire Carnegie produced one of their best performances of the season as they swatted aside Championship play-off contenders London Scottish.
Carnegie outscored the visitors by six tries to one, including scores for the impressive half- back combination of Chris Pilgrim and Harry Leonard, who appear to be flourishing under the tuition of Bryan Redpath.
Four games into his tenure at Headingley, former Sale boss Redpath said: “I’m delighted with the outcome of the game. It was always going to be a difficult game, but I thought the boys were excellent in the first 20 minutes.
“I was delighted with their effort and some of the stuff that we worked on in training came off, that’s the other pleasing part.
“For the first 15 to 20 minutes we had possession for long periods that we were able to capitalise on and we managed to finish things off when we got chances.
“The next 20 minutes we’ve got a boy (Pilgrim) in the bin and we’ve defended well.”
Free from the pressures of trying to secure a Championship play-off place, Carnegie came flying out the blocks with a Leonard penalty two minutes in opening the scoring following an offside.
The home side continued to swarm all over the visitors from Richmond and when Pete Lucock’s line break created space, the ball found its way to Pilgrim to cross over and Leonard added the extras.
The Champagne rugby kept flowing and following Pilgrim’s quick-tap penalty, Matt Smith, Charlie Beech and Leonard combined to send the fly-half over for a try which he converted.
If running rugby had been the order of the day for the first two tries, Redpath’s men showed brute force to bring about the third. From a five-metre rolling maul, Carnegie had Scottish going backwards and once over the line Beech touched the ball down and Leonard kicked the two points from out wide.
From there, Scottish began to grow into the contest and Miles Mantella was only denied a try in the corner thanks to Oli Goss’ last ditch tackle.
With Mike Friday’s men now camped in the Carnegie 22, the home side were reduced to 14 when former Newcastle scrum-half Pilgrim was sent to the sin-bin for coming in at the side.
Despite being a man down the Carnegie defence held firm and a penalty relieved the pressure and allowed Yorkshire to turn defence into attack.
A sustained period of pressure deep in Scottish territory brought about the bonus-point try. Having seen Chevvy Pennycook sent to the bin for 10 minutes because of an infringement at the breakdown, Carnegie took advantage up front and Smith rumbled over from a rolling maul close in.
Scottish finally got on the scoreboard five minutes into the second period when a strong run from James Chisholm held off the Carnegie defence and Adam Preocanin dived over.
But that try was not the catalyst for more scores from the visitors and a second penalty from Leonard on the 22 Carnegie in the ascendency.
Having turned the ball over, a smart pass out wide allowed captain Ryan Burrows to outrun Dan Newton from the halfway line and charge over, Leonard converting.
Despite a raft of replacements Carnegie continued to show desire and from another rolling maul Burrows grounded from the back of the pack and Leonard kicked the extras.
The home side were still not done and straight from the kick- off Burrows took play over halfway and only a last-ditch tackle prevented him from completing a second-half hat-trick.
With just seconds left a fortunate bounce left Ben Hooper with the tryline at his mercy, but he could not take advantage and was adjudged to have been held up, but it was still a convincing win for Carnegie.
Yorkshire Carnegie: Georgiou, Doherty (Prell 69), Fitzpatrick, Lucock, Goss, Leonard, Pilgrim (Egerton 73), Beech (Imiolek 65), J. Walker (Nilsen 75), Hill (Hooper 75), Harris (Edwards 69), Smith, Jones (Ramshaw 73), C. Walker, Burrows (c).
London Scottish: Millar, Doneghan, Moffat, Gidlow, Mantella (Lydon 35), Newton, Heeks (Calder 58), Lilley, Kwasnicki (c) (Hallam 52), Rae (Chawatama 48), Tuisamoa (Chisholm 40), Preocanin, Gillanders, Pennycook (Brown 58), Ludlow (Bright 48).
Referee: S Harding (RFU).