Yorkshire Carnegie’s hopes of reaching the Championship Cup final were ended in a brave 22-8 defeat at competition favourites London Irish.
Both teams started well, playing some good attacking rugby in the Reading sunshine. It was Irish who opened the scoring when wing Ben Loader claimed a high ball and raced into the corner unopposed. Atkin’s conversion made the score 7-0 after just six minutes.
Carnegie started to grow into the game and managed to get the next score after 20 minutes. Winger Myles Thoroughgood showed great pace to chase after his own kick and dot down in the corner after the Irish full-back spilt the ball in his in goal area.
Despite missing the conversion, it wasn’t long before Jade Te Rure put Carnegie into the lead by slotting a penalty making the score 7-8.
The final 10 minutes of the first half was a tight end-to-end affair which made for an extremely watchable first half of rugby. With the last play of the half, Loader went over again for what seemed an exact replica of his first try, putting the hosts back in front and leading 12-8 at the interval.
Irish came firing out of the blocks in the second half with hooker Dave Porecki scoring off the back of a strong maul. Atkins conversion made the gap 11 points and gave Carnegie a lot of work to do.
As the second half progressed it became an open, thrilling contest which gave both teams opportunities to score. However, Irish proved why they are top of the league table with great defence which didn’t allow Carnegie to score a single point in the second half.
Atkins sealed the victory for the Exiles with a late penalty which meant there was no way back for Carnegie. However the Yorkshiremen can be proud of their performance and growth since their 72-5 drubbing on their last outing at the Madjeski, and their superb cup run which saw them win six out of eight games.
Next up for Yorkshire Carnegie is an away trip to Bedford on Friday Night.