Carlisle RFC Colts v Alnwick

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A much improved display from the Colts, aIthough the result was dissapointing, this was the proverbial game of two halves with the wind and rain dictating the manner in which this match developed.

Carlisle had the benefit of the considerable elements in the first period and when Martin Mclean recovered Steven Benson’s excellent kick off had the possession to establish an early platform in the visitors half. The Carlisle pack looked much more organised in the loose than their previous outing and produced a steady stream of good ball from open field play.

The backs handling skills defied the conditions and debutant winger Tom Earl made good ground before releasing to supporting back row Tom Martin who broke through two tackles for the first try on ten minutes. From the restart Alnwick had their best period of the first half and forced a linout near the Carlisle try line. Loose tackling allowed the visiting fly half to break through and score under the sticks for a 5-7 lead.

The rest of the half was all Carlisle as they used the elements to good effect, but resolute Alnwick defending limited the home side to two further scores. Tom Ritchie got Carlisle’s second try on twenty minutes as he charged down an attempted Alnwick clearance with the ball sticking under his arm an allowing to run unopposed to score; benson converted.

Kieron Little scored the third try on tewnty-five minutes following a flowing move that defied the awful conditions. Despite the continuing pressure Carlisle failed to added further scores and whilst a ten point half time lead was deserved the conditions meant it was precarious.

For the first twenty minutes of the second half however Carlisle continued to look the better side and Alnwick could not make the elements benefit count. As the half wore on though the Carlisle pack began to tire and in the backs mistakes were creeping in that allowed the visitors to establish some territory. On sixty minutes Alnwick got the score that got them back in the game, capitalising on Carlisle errors from a kick through for the scrum half to pick up loose ball and scramble over. The successful conversion made it 17-14.

The visitors now had their tails up and Carlisle wilted under the pressure with the visitors no 8 capping a fine individual performance with a driving run for the the winning score. A late Carlisle rally almost brought reward, but they came up just short. Some fine individual performances from Tom Martin and Gray Graham in the back row and from centre Kieron Little were the highlights for Carlisle. Stuart Bullman led the side with commitment and determination. But the first win will have to wait; hopefully that will be achieved on the visit to Westoe in two weeks.

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