Carlisle v Pontefract 8th Nov

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After their win in the local derby over Penrith last week, Carlisle travelled to Yorkshire bouyed by that success, and in the hope that they could build on that deserved victory, and make it two in a row!

Pontefract provided a stern test of the Carlisle resolve, and they too were seeking to build on their away win the previous week when they disposed of Driffield after coming back from being seventeen points down at the break.

The home pack gave the Warwick Road men a much sterner test than did Penrith, and they had to work hard for their share of the spoils.

Lee Brumpton - Opening try

Lee Brumpton - Opening try

Pivot Lee Brumpton opened for Carlisle with a well taken try to the right of the post on seven minutes, allowing fly half Glen Weightman the easiest of conversions.

Carlisle did not have it all their own way though and within three minutes, the Yorkshiremen closed the gap.  A high ball over the visiting defence was fluffed by full back Stephane Helies and the advancing attack took advantage, gaining possession for an easy touch down but no conversion.

Players man of the match, scrum half Ben Blain, and his partner Weightman, were instrumental in ensuring an ample supply of the ball.  Blain was always busy with some great tidying up and purposeful distribution, whilst Weightman was having regular success with his kicks for touch.  Clearly the half back duo were troubling Pontefract, and on seventeen minutes Weightman added a penalty after being floored with an unsavoury high tackle.  He had the chance to convert another penalty within minutes, but from well out, the ball skimmed the outside of the sticks. 

On twenty eight minutes Weightman helped himself to a try and a few minutes later added a penalty to put his side into the break with an 18 pts to 8 pts advantage after the home side had added a penalty.

After the break, the anticipation of a sustained come back by Pontefract did not disappoint.  They put the Carlisle defence under severe pressure for a period and within a couple of minutes had reduced the arrears with a converted try.  Game on!

Carlisle had a number of tense moments with high balls over their defence after Pontefract sensed a touch of vulnerability at the back, and probed at this, but fortunately with limited effect.

Skipper and prop Steve Stamper eased the worry to a degree when he touched down after a huge onslaught on the Pontefract line.

Steve Stamper - A rare touchdown

Steve Stamper - A rare touchdown

This was a game that “Ponte” were not about to cede easily and they kept Carlisle on their mettle and reined in with another penalty on fifty eight minutes before Carlisle had some re-arraning to do.  Brumpton came off with a groin twinge allowing Martin Grealish to leave the bench.  He went into the second row with Mark Barron moving to number eight.  Young George Graham came on too to replace centre Liam Nicholls.

Within minutes Carlisle increased their grip on proceedings when Weightman landed another penalty to take the advantage at that point to 18 pts to 26 pts with just less than quarter of an hour remaining.  The remaining minutes of the match were tense for players and spectators alike.  The visitors had some anxious moments as Pontefract fought gallantly to reduce the arrears, but managed to hold on with the exception of a penalty.

Pontefract contributed to an entertaining, if tense encounter, but Carlisle deserved their victory, one that lifted them one place up the league table.

With no notable injuries to worry about Carlisle should have full squad to select from for the visit of Sandal next Saturday.

It has taken Carlisle a while to get into their stride this season, but after a tenative start the signs are there that a a gradual improvement is developing.  A number of youngsters have been “blooded” and whilst their relative inexperience may have been a problem in the early days, faith in their ability to develop is starting to pay dividends and it bodes well for the future.