Yorkshire Carnegie secured a dramatic win against Cornish Pirates in the Greene King IPA Championship, with an injury time conversion from Alex Davies confirming the victory.

With the clock ticking down Carnegie were trailing by five points, but a late charge saw Joe Buckle driven over to level the game and then Davies stepped up add the difficult touchline conversion to maintain Carnegie’s winning record at Headingley Carnegie.

James Lowes’ side made a superb start and the game looked like it was going to plan when they took the lead after just five minutes after threatening the Pirates’ try line from the start. Strong play from the forwards in the scrum took the homeside close, before Ollie Stedman peeled away from the back of the 5-metre scrum and darted through a gap. Davies, who was named captain in the absence of Richard Mayhew, added the conversion.

Five minutes later some superb attacking play from the Carnegie backs led to the next try. Chris Elder made the initial break before getting the ball away to George Watkins who sprinted up field through the Pirates’ defence. As he was closed down the winger passed to Will Homer, who made a diagonal run to the try line for Carnegie’s second. Once again Davies slotted over the conversion to double the lead.

The visitors responded well and forced Carnegie to defend their line with some impressive attacking play. They were eventually rewarded for their efforts when Alex Cheesman was driven over from close range in the corner and the ever-reliable Laurence May added the conversion to half Carnegie’s lead.

Carnegie were their own worst enemy and their mistakes, which saw them lose three line outs, allowed the visitors to gain momentum and they came close to getting over for their second. After Christian Judge barged his way over, referee Karl Dickson ruled that he had been held up, but the visitors soon reduced the gap further though when Carnegie conceded a penalty for off side and May added the three points to make it 14-10.

On 30 minutes Carnegie took back control following a line out. Sanderson collected Mayhew’s throw in and then the ball was collected by Josh Bainbridge who sprinted clear and held off his defenders for a fine try. Davies’ conversion making the score 21-10.

Once again Pirates hit back and after a period of sustained pressure and were able to force their way over, with Tom Cowan-Dickie the player to get the ball down. May converted to nudge his side closer to their hosts.

Just before the break both teams lost a player to injury, Will Homer for Carnegie and Nicolas De Battista for Pirates, with both initially going off for head injury assessments but both failing tests and permanently replaced in the second half.

Carnegie were unable to make the positive start they had in the first and once again errors kept their hosts in the game and then take the lead. May nudged the Pirates to within a point when the home side were punished for holding on and he slotted over the penalty to make it 21-20.

They then won another penalty at the scrum and once again May was on target to put his side two points ahead at 21-23. Davies had the opportunity to edge his side back in front but missed his first kick of the game. May then punished the error with his next penalty after another offence at the scrum for Carnegie.

The visitors who had lost three of their last four games by a six point or less margin looked like they were heading for their second consecutive win as the game went into injury time with a five point lead, but cruelly for the visitors Carnegie had more left to give and upped the pressure in the final moments. After persistent infringements, the referee sin binned Jack Andrew for obstruction 20 metres out and Carnegie made the extra man count and after pressure on the Pirates line they drove replacement hooker Joe Buckle over to level the score.

Davies stepped up for the high-pressure kick on the touchline and saw his kick go over to wrap up the 28-26 win and move Carnegie up to fourth in the Championship table.

15. Chris Elder
14. George Watkins
13. Andy Forsyth
12. Pete Lucock
11. Louis Brown
10. Alex Davies (c)
9. Will Homer
1. Marc Thomas
2. Mike Mayhew
3. Elliot Millar-Mills
4. Jack Whetton
5. Dan Sanderson
6. Mike Myerscough
7. Josh Bainbridge
8. Ollie Stedman

16. Joe Buckle
17. Lee Imiolek
18. Charlie Beech
19. James Thraves
20. Lewis Wilson
21. Callum Irvine
22. Stevie McColl