Nottingham Rugby secured their first ever league win at Emerald Headingley Stadium on Sunday afternoon as they delivered a fantastic 36-17 bonus point win over Yorkshire Carnegie.
Tries from Seb Cecil, Luke Peters, David Williams, Shane O’Leary and Rory Burke saw the Green and Whites claim their second win of the season.
Head Coach Neil Fowkes made two changes to the side that beat London Scottish at The Bay last weekend with Danny Qualter and Jordan Coghlan coming in to replace Tim Cardall and Shane Buckley.
Nottingham came under some early pressure in the opening ten minutes but their defence remained strong as they pushed Yorkshire Carnegie back. Nevertheless, the home side were awarded a penalty in front of the posts and Brendan Cope gave his side a 3-0 lead when he slotted over the kick.
But the Green and Whites soon hit back when a superb charge down from Sean Scanlon forced the ball over the Yorkshire line. Seb Cecil was first to react and he pounced on the loose ball to score the first try. Shane O’Leary added the extras to give the Green and Whites a 7-3 lead.
It was the away side who were on top following the try and the second score soon came following some good pressure. Yorkshire second row Mike Myerscough was shown a yellow card moments before a neatly worked move from the driving maul saw Luke Peters force his way over the whitewash to extend Nottingham’s lead. O’Leary added the extras once again to make it 14-3.
The home side were looking for a response as they heaped on the pressure and Nottingham had to dig a little deeper when Danny Qualter was next to be sent to the bin after collapsing a driving maul. But their pressure soon paid off when hooker Dylan Donnellan dotted down to score. Brendan Cope slotted over the conversion to make it 14-10 going into the break.
Yorkshire Carnegie were quickest out the blocks after the break when George Watkins dived over in the corner just one minute into the second half. The ball was quickly distributed out wide to Watkins who used his pace to race away and score their second converted try of the match to make it 17-14.
But a stunning individual try from David Williams put the Green and Whites back into the lead a minute later. The NTU graduate burst through and ran 60 metres before eventually diving over in the corner. O’Leary edged the conversion just wide, but Nottingham had a 19-17 lead.
O’Leary extended Nottingham’s lead on 56 minutes when he slotted over a penalty to make it 22-17 visitors. Then O’Leary was at the heart of it again for his side when a dropped pass was collected by the Irishman who ran in from 60 metres to secure the bonus point for his side before converting his own try to make it 29-17.
Nottingham continued to manage the game well in the final ten minutes and they rounded off a perfect performance when Rory Burke picked up an offload and dived over from close range for another converted try. The Green and Whites ran out 36-17 winners as they secured a hugely impressive second win of the season at Headingley.
Speaking after the match, Nottingham Rugby Head Coach Neil Fowkes said: “I am so happy for the boys, they went out there and they put our game on the park. They rode out some periods where we were under some heavy momentum from a good Yorkshire Carnegie side.
“We held them out and then obviously we took our chances when they came up. I’m really happy for the front five, they were really strong today and we came out on the right sides of the fine margins of The Championship.”
Next up for Nottingham is the visit of Doncaster Knights to The Bay for the second Friday Night Lights of the season. Advance tickets and hospitality packages are available for the game, for more information call 0115 907 0070.