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Saturday, 27th September – North 2 East

On their first ever visit to Warwick Road, Ilkley, newly promoted and, like Carlisle, without any league points thus far, were determined to make an impact on this match.  From a Yorkshire Dale famous for the lyrics of “On Ilkley Moor Bar T’at”, they were anxious to convert to reality the words from that famous ditty,”Then we shall ‘ave to bury thee, bury thee”.  After an opening flourish from the city side, Ilkley set about trying to dig a grave for their hosts, and almost succeeded!

Carlisle’s preparations were thwarted before the game when prop Martin McGimpsey succumbed to a calf proplem in the warm up and winger James Clark was ill.  Harry Marshall stepped up to the front row and Liam Nicholls replaced Clark.

The opening ten minutes were quite phrenetic with Carlisle taking the game to the Dalesmen in the opening minutes before being forced onto the backfoot when the visitors had them penned in their own 22 for a lengthy spell.  For the most part the defence stood firm  but they could not prevent a couple of tries before half time from Jonnie Shanks and Terrence Sibanda, Pete Shanks converting the former.

Coach, Richard Metcalf must have injected some venom into his side at the break because they looked revitalised in the second period and within 20 minutes of the restart had taken the lead through tries on 51 minutes from centre Chris Harris, and 4 minutes later from stand off George Graham.  Graham managed to convert the first bus hit the inside of the near post with his own, only to see the back bounce back in field!  He atoned for that miss three minutes later when he landed a penalty.

George Graham. Stand off half

Carlisle were in the ascendency by now with only the occasional flourish from Ilkley, although on 73 minutes, young Graham missed a chance to increase the lead for his team when he fluffed a penalty opportunity.  This seemed to unsettle Carlisle a little and they spent the remaining minutes defending a sustained assault of their own line and succumbed to a penalty in the dying seconds that allowed Ilkley to share the spoils.

Given their second half performance Carlisle deserved more from the game!