Yorkshire Carnegie fought back to earn a 20-16 victory over Hartpury in the Greene King IPA Championship in a tough contest at Emerald Headingley.

The hosts, who were undefeated in their last four league games, made a promising start to the game and built up a 6-0 lead thanks to two penalties from Alex Davies, but they then allowed the league’s newest side come back into the game and the visitors eventually made the most of their possession to edge out in front.

After the first 10 minutes Hartpury, who were captained by former Carnegie player Rhys Oakley, enjoyed the majority of possession in the first half and spent a large amount of time camped in the Carnegie 22.  The hosts were guilty of coughing up the ball to put themselves under pressure and Hartpury were eventually rewarded with a try on 11 minutes when the ball was spread across the field of play to Tom Seabrook and the winger ran through for the opening try.  James Williams added the conversion to nudge his side in front.

Carnegie were dealt some injury blows in the first half with both Mike Myerscough and James Thraves going off with injury, replaced by Josh Bainbridge and new signing Kevin Bryce, and their was further woe just before half time when they gave away a penalty at the scrum and Williams landed the kick to take his side in at the break with a four point lead.

The second half started with more dominance from Hartpury and with six minutes played they were further behind as Williams slotted over his second penalty.

James Lowes’ side responded well, and after winning a penalty they kicked to touch and a superb take from Richard Beck helped them get in a good position to get their driving maul moving and the forwards powered Richard over for his third try of the season.  Alex Davies kicked the conversion to level the game on the 50 minutes.

The homeside didn’t capitalise on the try and once again gifted the opposition with a penalty straight from the restart and Williams kicked the three points to nudge his team ahead at 13-16.

Despite Hartpury having the lion’s share of the possession, the Carnegie defence held strong and they were never able to break them down to prove any huge attacking threat.

There was more injury setbacks in the second half with Bainbridge forced off with a cheek injury to be replaced by Matt Smith.

With the clock ticking down, Hartpury were looking like they were heading for their first win on their first visit to Emerald Headingley, but as has been the case in recent games this season for Carnegie, the hosts dug deep to come from behind and win, with a fine try from Stevie McColl.

Davies picked up the ball in his own half and linked up with McColl.  The winger then got the ball away to Watkins, who did a superb job breaking though and racing upfield before passing the ball back to MColl, who then ran through for the second Carnegie try.  Davies once again added the conversion to give his team the lead for the first time since the 30th minute.

The visitors may have felt aggrieved to be heading for defeat after their dominance and continued to keep up the pressure in the closing stages, a superb tackle from Will Homer on George Perkins coming to his side’s rescue as the winger raced for the try line.

With long periods of stoppage for injuries in the second half Carnegie had to withstand more from Hartpury but they did enough to hold on for their ninth win of the season.