Carlisle 15 v Pontefract 14

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Saturday, 7th March 2009

Pontefract arrived at Warwick Road bouyed by their away win at league leaders, Old Crossleyans, last week  –  a result that left them with a chance of the play off place. During the first half at Warwick Road, the city side managed to put a big dent in those aspirations with some good rugby that was both positive and entertaining.

As seems to the norm nowadays, enforced changes were needed before kick off with Ben Blain slotting in at full back for Max Connon who was unavailable.  Lee Brumpton returned at number eight for Mark Barron (injured).

Gone - lock Nigel Arismandez loses out in this line out battle!

Gone - lock Nigel Arismandez loses out in this line out battle!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

During the opening minutes, both sides probed away before Carlisle settled down to dominate, regularly finding gaps in the visiting defence, threatening to touch down on a couple of occasions, before left winger Barry Earl got the break that was needed.  After some good approach work, with the backs linking well, Earl wriggled through the rearguard to touch down well wide of the left post and fly half Glen Weightman improved.

Within seconds of the restart, Pontefract lost their scrum half, Ben Miller, to the sin bin after an indiscretion.   Not that Carlisle needed his departure to increase their grip on the game, but it gave them an incentive to up the “ante”, and they certainly did that.  The pack were in dominant form, foraging and battling for every ball, ensuring a good supply of ball that scrum half George Graham (man of the match) used with a craft and guile that mesmerised his opposite number (when he was on the field).

 

Scrum half George Graham - confused his opposite number throughout the match!

Scrum half George Graham - confused his opposite number throughout the match!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Generally solid for most of the season, the pack really gelled as a unit and it would be hard to pick out anyone who disappointed in this game.  OK, there were occasions when they were put under pressure, but overall they coped well.

Just beyond the mid way mark in the opening period, Carlisle increased their hold on the game when inside centre Ross Olney touched down,  Weightman missed the conversion but scored a penalty within three minutes,

Well into added time, lock Aidan Day had to leave the field with the recurrence of a shoulder injury  –  a legacy from an away trip to Driffield.  “Biff” McGimpsey replaced him and it was business as usal with the pack remaining in control.

During the break Pontefract must have realised that they were in imminent danger of being eclipsed.  They made a concerted effort to breach the home rearguard in the opening minutes of the second half.  The home rearguard withstood the test, but conceded lock, Bobby Sherlock, to the “bin” after four minutes and whilst their hosts were a man short, Glenn Boyd, fly half landed a couple of penalties to reduce the arrears.

Pontefract threw everything they had at Carlisle, and although the Warwick Road defence coped well with the threat they conceded another penalty at the midway point before closing the game to one a one point difference after winger Simon Spears touched down.

 

Carlisle defence anticipating an attack!

Carlisle defence anticipating an attack!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yet again, Carlisle found themselves in a tight corner in the closing quarter of a game.  But, they rallied and put the Pontefract line under immense pressure in an effort to increase the lead with the pack driving their opponents back at every opportunity.  In the end though, they had to settle for a narrow victory that gave them their second “double” of the season.

George Graham

George Graham

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Man of the Match – GEORGE GRAHAM – prompted, prodded & cajoled throughout the match.

Matt Shields

Matt Shields

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Runner up – MATT SHIELDS – scrummaged with skills beyone his years!

Tom Graham

Tom Graham

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In third place – TOM GRAHAM – a fine display at hooker with leading & forceful drives a prominent feature of his game.

 

The starting XV v Pontefract:

15        Ben Blain
14        Stephane Helies
13        Chris Harris
12        Ross Olney
11        Barry Earl
10        Glen Weightman
9          George Graham
1          Steve Stamper (captain)
2          Tom Graham
3          Matt Shields
4          Aidan Day
5          Nigel Arismandez
6          Bobby Sherlock
7          Matt Charters
8          Lee Brumpton
16        Martin McGimpsey
17        John Bowman
18        Dan Holmes

Next Saturday  –  another chance to cause upset among the top league placings  – away at Sandal.