Carlisle 30 v Aspatria 15

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Saturday, 21st March 2009

This twice postponed contest was played out at Warwick Road in perfect conditions.  Carlisle were anxious to avenge an early season defeat at Aspatria‘s Bower Park, where some would say they deserved more from that game!

Safe from relegation this season (there is none) both teams were fighting for mid table respectability, giving them something to build on for the future.  Local derbies always have that little extra edge, and the game at Warwick Road was no exception, with parochial pride equally as important as the final result.

The Carlisle line up was only finalised shortly before the kick off after a fitness test for outside centre, Chris Harris, who has had a lingering shoulder problem. Fortunately for the city outfit he was declared fit, and subsequently played a prominent part in this comfortable win.

Aspatria too, had selection difficulties with hooker McDowell taking the field at stand off half, and it wasn’t long before he made an early mark on the game.  He landed a dropped goal from 35 yards as early as the second minute.  But, that early advantage was short lived.  From the restart, Carlisle went upfield to put the visiting defence under pressure in the right hand corner.  The forwards foraged successfully to retain possession, and after some good interchange among the backs, full back Ben Blain linked well and with a gaping hole in the Aspatria defence, bolted through to touch down left of the posts.  Stand off Glen Weightman converted.

Aspatria, although finding life tough in the set scrums, were more adept in loose play, and Carlisle certainly did not have it all their own way.

The Casrlisle pack push for the line in the first half.

The Casrlisle pack push for the line in the first half.









Scenting that it could be their day, the Carlisle backs were seemed determined to be incisive, something that has been lacking for much of the season.  Midway through the half, they again cut the Aspatria defence apart.  From just outside the twenty two, centre Chris Harris chipped the ball over the defence into the right hand corner with winger Stephane Helies and full back Blain hurtling forward in support, the latter managed his second touch down.  Weightman failed with the conversion.

Full back Ben Blain  -  a brace of classy first half tries.

Full back Ben Blain - a brace of classy first half tries.







Within five minutes Carlisle added another try when centre Chris Harris, having played an unselfish part in making the two earlier tries, helped himself to five points.  Weightman added a penalty just on the break to give his team a comfortable 20 pts to 3 pts cushion.

Carlisle had to fashion some changes at the break  –  prop Matt Shields (ankle knock) was replaced by Martin McGimpsey, with left wing Barry Earl (back) ceded his place to Tom Armstrong.

Glen Weightman - adding three points.

Glen Weightman - adding three points.









Early in the second half Weightman added another penalty that seemed to spur Aspatria into action with defeat staring them in the face.  Number eight, Gary Hodgson claimed a couple of tries, the first converted by Clegg.

With eleven minutes remaining, Carlisle were a man down when skipper, Steve Stamper, had a ten minute rest in the bin! Despite this hiccup Carlisle kept their cool and flanker Matt Charters killed the game off with with a fine try between the posts – Weightman taking the tally to 30 pts with the conversion.

The Carlisle pack have been fairly solid throughout the season, but given the way the backs performed in this match, city supporters can only be left to wonder what might have been, if this successful back division had been fachioned together earlier in the season!

Frantic action from Warwick Road (7 - Charters & 5 - Day).

Frantic action from Warwick Road (7 - Charters & 5 - Day).










Next Saturday, Carlisle entertain Driffield in what will be last league game of the season at Warwick Road, before taking to the road for away games at Durham City and Billingham.



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



1st  –    Ben Blain (picture above)

2nd -    Chris Harris

2nd - Chris Harris








3rd - Matt Charters

3rd - Matt Charters









The Crusaders had a free week in the Candy League and the Hornets were due to entertain a Netherhall XV who cried off shortly before the match.