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North 2 East League

Saturday 4th October 2008

Carlisle are finding it difficult to come to terms this season with life in N2E.  One point from three outings prior to this contest was all they had to show for their efforts.

Last year both games with Morpeth were close contests and there was little difference on Saturday and although the result might suggest dominance by Morpeth, that was far from the case.  Carlisle competed well in the opening period and gave as good as they got.  Missing some early penalty chances did not help the cause and, if they had been been seized the game could have taken on a different complexion.

Despite a morning of heavy rain prior to kick off, the pitch was in quite good condition and both teams tried to play some open running rugby, with Morpeth having the more experienced chaps, particularly in the backs.  The city side are trying to persevere with developing some young talent blended with experience, and will have to be patient in the meantime.

Carlisle did have a try disallowed, not that there was anything wrong with it; simply that the referee was still on the 22 metre line, clearly unable to keep up the play and see what was actually happenning.  He chose to award a penalty instead!

Carlisle were 13 pts to nil down at the break and given their first half performance, hopes were high that their improving game would deliver some points return.

However, early in the second half, they were forced into making changes after some indiscreet use of the boot took its toll.  Liam Nicholls was first to leave the field after a nasty stamp on the back of the head. New boy Ross Olney came off the bench and did enough to suggest that he will knocking on the door for a wing berth.

Next to succumb to a boot was Bobby Sherlock with a facial rearrangement!  Scott Rattray went on as did John Strickland who relieved veteran prop Martin Burnett.  The disruption to the scrum was too much for Carlisle who then started to lose their earlier dominance in the set pieces.

Morpeth added a converted try and a penalty to complete scoring.

On the evidence of the four games played so far, there is not a lot between the teams, Billingham being the only decent side played thus far. But, if Carlisle are going to get any return from their endeavours, then there has to be more polish added to their handling game to enable them to retain more possession.