Cougars 19 v Scunthorpe 0

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The long Christmas break had obviously worked up the Cougar appetite for this match. It was the first match of the year, on the back of one training session since the break and the weather took a turn for the worse at the kick-off. Not a favourable set of circumstances for the home team.

The first half got underway with some great defensive play from the hosts, which the Cougars managed to sustain throughout the rest of the game. Nerve testing pressure was applied on Scunthorpe at each break down forcing the penalties.

The first points to go on the board came from a penalty try given to scrum-half Philippa Bell. A chip and chase just outside the 22 allowed the break away up the left wing into open field. A stunning run was illegally disrupted and the penalty try awarded, which was successfully converted by stand-off Lisa Ritchie.

The visitors never seemed to get into their stride, and Carlisle were keen to take the game to them. Lock Rosie Tyson (Coaches Player) put in a big performance, working hard all over the park, making some big tackles and cleaning up loose ball efficiently. On such a boggy and unforgiving pitch, winger Caroline Dinwoodie also did admirably to pick up the pace when the opportunities came.

At the break, substitutions were made in the pack, which had a notable impact. Flanker Belinda Lloyd came in to flank and Sam Meakin moved from Number 8 to prop. A wheeling scrum made it hard to win the put ins, but the strengthened pack worked hard to clear the ball out fast. Play was pushed back deep into the opposition half where quick ball from a ruck allowed prop and Captain, Lucy Meadley to break through the defence, popping the ball back inside to centre Holly Freestone (Player’s Player) who touched down just left of the posts.

The last quarter saw some strong forward running that drew in the Scunthorpe defence opening up gaps out wide. After recycling the ball through several phases, quick ball from the scrum-half went down the line to Meadley who broke through to score again before Ritchie added the conversion points. 

The visitors never really looked threatening, though a couple of breaks were made in the dying moments. However, the Cougar grit and determination lasted until the final whistle to hold the visitors to a nil score line. The next game will be the last away league fixture against York on Sunday 25th January.

Full report PDF