VIDEO: Yorkshire Carnegie 17 Worcester Warriors 36: Carnegie’s best goes so close to denying Premiership-chasers

THAT Yorkshire Carnegie were disappointed at coming away with nothing from this game against leaders Worcester speaks volumes about the crucial progress they have made towards the end of 2014.

Carnegie's Charlie Beech is held by Mike Williams and Matt Cox. (Picture: Bruce Rollinson)

Admittedly, the final scoreline might suggest just another routine, comfortable victory for experienced opponents, who have amassed 15 successive wins in a campaign geared solely towards earning an immediate return to the Premiership.

However, Yorkshire, who had been full of verve and ambition particularly in the first half, were level at 17-17 with just eight minutes remaining on Saturday.

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At that point, they were rightly confident of inflicting only Worcester’s second defeat of the season and a first since the opening-day loss versus Bristol.

Carnegie's Charlie Beech is held by Mike Williams and Matt Cox. (Picture: Bruce Rollinson)

Yet barely five weeks earlier, in Gary Mercer’s final game in charge, dire Carnegie had been fortunate to emerge with a draw against bottom-placed Plymouth and had not won a Championship fixture since September.

The transformation under caretaker head coach Tommy McGee has been marked, garnering four consecutive wins until finally coming unstuck against a Worcester side inspired by four-try winger Sam Smith.

On review, Yorkshire will be maddened at causing their own downfall.

Some would argue they should have taken the option of another five-metre scrum after forcing Worcester into conceding the penalty under the shadow of their own posts that resulted in Harry Leonard’s goal evening up the game in the 68th minute.

At times, Carnegie’s youthful front-row – hooker Jack Walker is 18 and tight-head Paul Hill 19 – caused genuine problems in that set piece and Charlie Beech brought impact off the bench.

However, having taken the conservative approach, McGee’s side strangely tried playing their way out of their own 22 following the restart and were rushed into a kick that resulted in the position for Smith to score his second try in the 72nd minute, aided principally by a fine run from ex-Carnegie winger Tom Biggs.

Former Gloucester fly-half Ryan Lamb missed his fourth kick from five attempts, meaning the hosts trailed 22-17, leaving supporters further perplexed as to why they forced a wild and speculative offload soon after.

Smith did not stop to question why and picked up the loose ball to race 50m untouched for his hat-trick, cruelly adding a fourth deep into stoppage-time with Ignacio Mieres improving both to leave the lopsided scoreline.

Rob Vickerman, the vibrant centre who spearheaded much of their adventurous attacking from deep as they built an early 14-0 lead, conceded there was “disappointment” by the outcome.

“The way the game panned out it was always going to be a case of them capitalising on our errors,” said the 29-year-old, who scored Carnegie’s sole try in the 17th minute after a fine turnover from Ben Harris and counter-attack.

“You clearly saw they have a lot of very big men in there – a few of ours felt like they had vertigo coming out of one driving maul – and that’s why they are so good as they do the basics well.

“We started well and at times really looked composed and confident. Tommy has really instilled that in us that we want high metres, at high pace with high execution and that’s probably the one area of the three where we let ourselves down – execution.”

The perfect example was another well-fashioned break in the first half when full-back Christian Georgiou opted against passing with plenty of support.

Leonard kicked the third of his four penalties soon after but they really should have emerged with seven points rather than three.

Similarly, when trailing 29-17, a bonus point chance disappeared when Leonard – with time and space – fumbled trying to pick up Vickerman’s kick following another piercing of Worcester’s middle.

Worcester recovered from their early problems to claw back to 14-12 at the break with tries from Matt Gilbert and Smith and were increasingly dangerous as the second half wore on, explaining why Carnegie turned down that second scrum option in front of a crowd of 2,705, their biggest in 12 months.

A first Championship home win of the season eludes them but, especially for the seven new investors who vowed to plough £2m into the club last week, this was such a positive step forward.

Yorkshire Carnegie: Georgiou; Goss, Vickerman, Lucock, T Prell; Leonard, Pilgrim (Dudman 64); Harris (Beech 54), J Walker (Nilsen 62), Hill (Imiolek 73), Smith (Casson 60), Beck, Williams (Bainbridge 73), C Walker, Burrows. Unused replacement: Peters.

Worcester Warriors: Pennell; Smith, Stelling, Mills, Biggs; Lamb (Mulchrone 68), Arr (Mieres 68); Rapava Ruskin (Bower 62), Creevy (George 54), Schonert (Rees 68), Williams, O’Shea, Thomas, Gilbert (Cox 51), Van Velze. Unused replacement: Symons.

Referee: D Gamage (RFU).