One week on from one of the most humiliating nights in their history, Yorkshire Carnegie set out on their quest for redemption at Goldington Road tonight.
The club that changed their name in the summer to foster greater financial and numerical support suffered the indignation of being nilled by a rival whose nose was most put out of joint by their rebrand.
Rotherham Titans claimed a 6-0 win at Headingley last Friday night, becoming the first club since Edinburgh in the Heineken Cup more than 10 years ago to shut out a Leeds or Yorkshire team on their home territory.
It was Carnegie’s fourth defeat in six Championship games this season, and their third straight at home, two of which have come against their county rivals in whose wake they now trail.
The next two games at Bedford tonight and at home to Plymouth next Friday were already labelled ‘must-win’ by head coach Gary Mercer last month, when bracketed together with the Rotherham fixture.
With that first game now a haunting memory, these next two fixtures take on even greater significance, with captain Ryan Burrows insisting that it is up to the players to lift the club out of the doldrums.
“We’re in a bit of a lull at the minute and it’s down to us as players and us as a team to put that right,” said the 26-year-old Cleckheaton-born flanker.
“For some reason we’re not performing just yet and we have to find that magic formula. It’s difficult to put your finger on to one thing we’re not doing right, or not doing so well. But it’s a difficult place to be at the minute results-wise. We’ve got to take it on the chin, we’re professional sportsmen and we’re not performing.
“On paper, we’re a good team and we’re a strong team and we’ve got to keep believing in that.
“We know that once we get that positive result we’ve got to stay on top of it, week after week.
“It was very hurtful being nilled last week. But the good thing is we never stopped trying.
“The lads are putting in 110 per cent out there for each other and that’s what we need to keep doing, playing for each other and playing for the fans.
“The results will start to come and we’ll be working hard to get the result down in Bedford which is what we desperately need.”