YORKSHIRE Carnegie ran in six tries to defeat Nottingham 37-27, secure third place and set up a Championship play-off semi-final tie with fierce rivals Doncaster Knights.
Bryan Redpath’s side quickly put behind them last week’s disappointing British & Irish Cup final defeat to London Welsh by winning their penultimate regular league game in some style.
Wingers Oli Goss and Max Wright, full-back Joel Hodgson and centre Fred Burdon all crossed for tries as the hosts’ backline found their rhythm heading into the business end of the season and gained a bonus point.
There were further tries for replacement forwards Lee Imiolek and Andy Saull, although Kevin Sinfield could only convert twice and slotted one penalty.
Carnegie led 20-8 at half-time at Headingley and the victory means, after their last match at Jersey next Saturday, they will tackle second-placed Doncaster in a two-legged semi-final starting the following weekend.
Knights, of course, have been the surprise package in 2015-16 but forwards coach Dave Baldwin says his side will relish the challenge as the battle for promotion heats up.
“It will be tough as it’s always tough against Donny home and away,” he said.
“We always struggle to play well at their place but I think if you look over the two games this season we beat them well here and lost on the last play down there.
“So, we should not go there with any fear and will look to take that challenge on.
“We needed to bounce back from that disappointing result and we showed a lot of intent today.
“We really tried to move the ball – we tried a bit too much at times when the final pass or offload probably wasn’t on – we’re delighted.
“We wanted to secure that third spot.
“We’d been there for a while now pushing Doncaster quite hard. We’ve had some good results and won seven out of our last eight games so we’re very pleased to get that confirmed.”
Elsewhere, Rotherham Titans head coach Justin Burnell admitted his side’s display was “flat” as they completed their home season with a disappointing 22-17 defeat to London Scottish.
Winger Michael Keating scored two tries, including an intercept, with Will Robinson converting both and adding a penalty.
But they were undone by Scottish full-back Aaron Morris, who bagged a quickfire brace to send then in 12-7 ahead, and Peter Lydon, the fly-half who scored one try and kicked seven further points.