Gateshead 8 v Carlisle 9

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GATESHEAD “FELL”

On a bitterly cold afternoon on Gateshead Fell, Carlisle had a very satisfying afternoon when they racked up their first “double” of the season, when they recorded a victory over their hosts in a keenly fought contest.

Gateshead, never an easy side to deal with,  made sure that the city side had to fight every inch of the way for the narrowest of wins.  However, it has to be said that Carlisle were, overall, the dominant side, with 75% possession.  A very heavy pitch meant that there was never going to be a feast of open, flowing rugby, but Carlisle managed to master the conditions to advantage.

In the absence of skipper, Steve Stamper, young  hooker Tom Graham, lead the team for the first time and can be proud of the way the lads responded.  That said, it was the home side that drew “first blood” on five minutes when they went over with a try in the left hand corner.  Some poor tackling let Gateshead through the defence leaving debutant full back Max Connon, exposed on his own and unable to prevent the touch down.  That said, Connon put in a confident display at the back, having been pressed into service when Stephane Helies pulled out before the game with a back injury.  He looked a safe pair of hands, and despite his relative inexperience he was inspiring with some intelligent distribution and positive tackling.

Max Connon - put in a great effort on his full debut at full back.

Max Connon - put in a great effort on his full debut at full back.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Going down to an early try was not the best start, but Carlisle clearly resolved that there would be no more, because for the most part of the opening half they kept Gateshead on the back foot in their own half.  Nothwithstanding though, and despite some sustained periods of pressure on the Gateshead line, the Warwick Road men were unable to touch down to as a reward that was deserved for their work.

First half pressure on the Gateshead line - scrum half George Grahams waits for the ball.

First half pressure on the Gateshead line - scrum half George Grahams waits for the ball.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Not to detract from the overall team effort, the Carlisle back row caught the eye, with flanker Charters having an outstanding match;  Bobby Sherlock excelled in the line outs and number 8 Mark Barron, foraged and fought for every ball.

Matt Charters - outstanding game and "Man of the Match".

Matt Charters - outstanding game and "Man of the Match".

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Despite their superiority, Carlisle had to be content with a couple of penalties on seventeen and thirty minutes from fly half Glen Weightman to give them the advantage at the break.

Glen Weightman watches his second penalty glide through the posts.

Glen Weightman watches his second penalty glide through the posts.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shortly into the second period, Carlisle made some changes to help weary legs on a very heavy pitch.  Aidan Day replaced Nigel Arismandez at lock and Martin Burnett replaced prop Mark Allan.  That left little room for manouvre in the event of injury, because Barry Earl went on right after the break to replace Ross Olney who made an exit with a calf injury.

Carlisle maintained their first half momentum, but it was largely “as you were” and they were unable to penetrate the home defence for a try that their play deserved.

Gateshead edged in front with a penalty on fifty seven minutes only for Weightman to reclaim the initiative eight minutes later with three points that were to be the last of the match.  For much of what was left, the game was on a knife edge, with Carlisle always looking the more likely to score.  There were some anxious moments though, with Gateshead missing a couple of penalties, the last of which came just before the final whistle.

Mid way through the half, play was halted to allow treatment for Martin Burnett who had to leave the field with an arm injury, that was later diagnosed as a broken arm.

Carlisle XV  on the day:

15    Max Connon
14    Chris Harris
13    Ross Olney (Barry Earl)
12    Liam Nicholls
11    Dan Holmes
10    Glen Weightman
9      George Graham
1      Mark Allan (Martin Burnett)
2      Tom Graham – Captain
3      Martin McGimpsey
4      Martin Grealish
5      Nigel Arismandez (Aidan Day|)
6      Bobby Sherlock
7      Matt Charters
8      Mark Barron

MORE SHOTS FROM THE MATCH:

Skipper Tom Graham gives lock Martin Grealish a helping hand in the line out.

Skipper Tom Graham gives lock Martin Grealish a helping hand in the line out.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Scrum half George Graham collects the ball with Tom Graham waiting to give a helping hand.

Scrum half George Graham collects the ball with Tom Graham waiting to give a helping hand.