Penrith’s Beacon Extinguished!

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Carlisle 29 pts v Penrith 26 pts

Saturday, 1st November 2008

As local derbies go this had all the incredients of a titanic  battle.  Penrith riding high in the upper echelons of North 2 East League probably thought that Carlisle, languishing fourth from bottom, might be easily disposed of. How wrong they were!  Never take the opposition for granted should be a maxim that ought not to be ignored.  Yes, Penrith have had a great intoduction to the season and Carlisle have had a mediochre opening couple of months.

A look at the league table, and any neutral coming to the game would have put their money on Penrith to waltz through this game with relative ease.  Their confidence would have been misplaced!

Carlisle opened well, although they did go behind to a penalty within a couple of minutes from Penrith ace marksman, Steve Wood.

The home forwards quickly got into gear and gave the Penrith pack a hard time, and were intent in making sure that the visitors did not have an easy time.  They worked their way upfield and on the quarter hour mark the ball was realesed to the backs about thirty yards out, and centre Chris Harris found his way through the defence to touch down left of the sticks with fly half Glen Weightman making sure with the conversion.

From the restart, Penrith had a short lived incursion into Carlisle territory before they found themselves further in arrears on seventeen minutes when a good break from Weightman on the right put flanker Matt Charters in for an unconverted try.

Flanker Matt Charters - try scorer - had an outstanding game for Carlisle.

Flanker Matt Charters - try scorer - had an outstanding game for Carlisle.


The game was far from one sided though, as Penrith contributed to an entertaining match.  On twenty seven minutes Penrith found themselves down to fourteen men with scrum half Paul Newton having been binned for an over the top” infringement.  As is often the case, this spurred his team mates into penning Carlisle back for a period, and during which Wood added a try that he converted, reducing the arrears.

But, within a couple of minutes, Carlisle were advancing again when they were awarded a penalty in line with the posts after a Carlisle player without the ball was “taken out”.  Weightman made no mistake and this allowed the Warwick Road side to go into the break with a slender 15 pts to 10 pts advantage.  In the main, the opening half provided some good rugby from both sides, although the last ten minutes tended to be rather scrappy.

Line out action as flanker Bobby Sherwood  is hoisted up for the ball

Line out action as flanker Bobby Sherwood is hoisted up for the ball

At the break coach Richard Metcalf was forced into making a change in the backs with Barry Earl coming on for Harris, who had earlier been pole axed with an (undetected) irregular tackle!

Refreshed after the break, it was Penrith who drew first blood within a couple of minutes, when left winger Joe Natress claimed an unconverted try to draw his side level before Wood briefly put the visitors ahead five minutes later with another penalty kick.  Within minutes the Winters Park side were a man short again when prop R.Wilson was “binned”.


Determined that the game was not to be lost, Carlisle doggedly fought back and put the Penrith line under a deal of pressure.  They got their reward on fifty four minutes with Barry Earl touching down; and within the next few minutes Weightman added a couple of vital penalties, in between which the Penrith number eight was also “binned”.  Penrith were not too fazed though and plugged away with Wood adding another penalty to put the score at 26 pts to 21 pts.  With only ten minutes remaining, and Carlisle seeking to retain the initiative, the game was abruptly halted with a serious injury to Carlisle winger James Clark who went down with an horrific leg and ankle injury. Treatment by physios and two doctors was necessary before he was whisked away by ambulance to hospital.

James Clark - sustained serious leg injury

James Clark - sustained serious leg injury

Play resumed after a twenty minute break.  Number eight, Lee Brumpton dropped back to partner Liam Nicholls in the centre;  Mark Allan cane off the bench to the flank for Charters who took over at eight.

Perhaps Carlisle minds had not quite re-focussed on the match as Natress pulled his side level, claiming his second try.  Fortunately, Wood, who is usually accurate with his kicks, failed with the conversion attempt.

The remaining minutes of the game were vital to both sides, with Carlisle clinching victory when Weightman added an easy penalty to clinch a deserved victory for the city side.

This win should give Carlisle a renewed sense of confidence in their ability to take on the opposition.

More shots from the Penrith match: