Carlisle 29 pts v Gateshead 22 pts

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North 2 East League

Saturday, 11th October 2008

Lineout action, Martin Grealish ready to take the ball

Make no mistake about it, this was a huge improvement from the Warwick Road side, bouyed by the return of some heavyweights to the pack.  Nevertheless, there were some changes to the selected side before the kick off; fly half George Graham fell victim to a virus infection and was replaced by Glen Weightman.  Mark Barron who had been moved from the back row to lock, turned an ankle in training on Thursday and it was decided not to risk him from the outset.  Aiden Day reclaimed his slot in the second row.


At a restart

There have been signs that Carlisle could find a return to winning form and it was clear that they were not going to allow a result to elude them against Gateshead.  From the off Carlisle took the game to the visitors’ and had a good opening twenty minutes.  There was a positive approach to the match with more team play than has been evident during the opening weeks of the season.  They kept the Tynesiders on the back foot and always looked the more likely to open an account.  Young Weightman had an early chance to please but missed the penalty on six minutes.  Within a couple of minutes though, and after a great forward drive, lively scrum half Ben Blain shunted the ball along the back line to Jamie Clark on the left wing and he went over for a try that was unconverted.

It was nothing more than Carlisle merited and it had the effect of lifting further,  their returning confidence.  The forwards kept up the offensive in search of more points and on eighteen minutes pivot, Lee Brumpton touched down after some good work by centre Chris Harris who carved the defence open before offloading to the supporting Brumpton.  Weightman converted. 

Not detracting from others that have gone before, but the home back row was looking particularly effective with flanker Matt Charters (back from injury) and Brumpton adding some craft and cunning to operations and they were well supported by Bobby Sherlock on the other flank.

Gateshead were not deterred though, they always looked dangerous going forward and the Carlisle defence had to be on their mettle as was evidenced by some sloppy handling that allowed Gateshead in for a try on twenty three minutes that was converted.

Carlisle seemed to take heed of the warning and redeemed themselves on thirty four minutes when emrging starlet in the centre, Chris Harris, surged through the Gateshead defence on the left to touch down.  Again, Weightman, who is generally a safe bet with his place kicks, missed the extras.  Determined to improve their lot Carlisle were quickly on the attack again and a promising move advancing on the left flank, broke down with a sloppy final pass that the visitors’ speedy right winger intercepted and he ran over half the length of the field to touch down between the posts allowing an easy conversion.

At the break 17 pts to 14 pts was still too close for comfort.

Seven minutes into the second period Gateshead drew level with a penalty and for a while there was little tension around the ground!  A couple of minutes later, James Clark chased an upfield ball down the left and touched down for a try.  Alas, the referee judged that it had been knocked forward  –  with a knee!! Undeterred, Carlisle plugged away sufficiently to keep thei opponents penned back.  Weightman surged through the centre and took himself a converted try between the sticks.


Always support for Carlisle

An anxious look! Mike Laidlaw eyes the action

On seventy minutes Carlisle were down to fourteen men when Matt Charters was ‘binned’ for what seemed a harsh decision for killing the ball.  Gateshead scented there might some benefit and put Carlisle under pressure for a while.  However, Carlisle were determined not to let go what they had earned and on seventy seven minutes, young hooker Tom Graham nicked a try in the right hand corner.

The remaining minutes ebbed away with Gateshead trying desperately to retrieve the game.  On eighty minutes they did get a try and, rather controversially had another disallowed in injury time.

All in all an improved display from Carlisle who now have break from league action.  Next week they travel to Rochdale in the Intermediate Cup.