Yorkshire Carnegie had 11 players missing for this league game.
They were facing a team in London Irish that were playing Premiership rugby last season, and are many people’s favourites to secure an instant return to that status by winning the Championship for the second time in three years.
But there ends the mitigation. For this has to be one of the worst days in the history of Yorkshire Carnegie.
Certainly, historically, it has never been worse.
They have conceded more points in a game, doing so to Northampton in a Cup match in 2000, but on that occasion, Leeds Tykes as they were known back then scored 35 points in response to the Saints’ 73.
They never suffered a defeat like this in any of their relegation years from the Premiership either, the worst of those a 66-7 drubbing at Saracens in March 2008. So this eclipses them all, Carnegie’s worst defeat and no matter the pre-game comments from director of rugby Chris Stirling that fans would not see the true identity of this team until financial reinforcements arrived at Christmas. This has to be viewed as unacceptable.
On this evidence, Santa Claus would need to shinny down the chimney at Emerald Headingley with 15 new players in his sack.
They were 31-0 down at the break. Ben Meehan, Tom Parton, Motu Maat’u and Ollie Hoskins all crossed for Irish with Carnegie’s woes compounded when Matt Smith was stretchered off.
Parton and Hoskins added a second apiece, a score for former Rotherham player Barney Maddison and one for former England wing Topsy Ojo continued the one-way traffic in the second half. Fergus Mulchrone crossed, Saia Fangia’a got in on the act and Hoskins completed his hat-trick.
A flicker of resistance came when Carnegie’s JP Bruzulier crossed for an unconverted try. But the game was long lost and Carnegie are in serious trouble.
London Irish: Parton (Tonks 69), Ojo, Macken, Campbell (Mulchrone 52), Loader, Meehan, McKibbin, Hobbs-Awoyemi (Elrington 55), Matu’u (Fainga’a 52), Hoskins, Maddison, De Chaves, McNally (Paulo 55), Schatz, Rogerson (Treviranus 61).
Yorkshire Carnegie: Brown, Moor, Watkins, Bullough, Elder, Forsyth (H Davey 55), Bruzullier, Thraves (Vaughan 45), Donnellan (Gibbings 55), Illnicki (Foster 45), Britton, Smith (Foster), Ward, Bainbridge (Buckle, 62), Temm (c).