Billingham 33 v Carlisle 12

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Saturday, 18th April 2009

Hardly the finish to the end of the league season that had been hoped for by Carlisle! 

In their first season in North 2 East, Billingham have established themselves as a useful side, playing attractive open rugby, particularly in the backs; and this is where Carlisle were undone at Greenwood Road!  The Teesiders back division is very strong and mobile and with positive ball skills, they caused Carlisle no end of difficulties during the opening half, although it did take them ten minutes to achieve their first touch down that was converted.

The Carlisle pack tended to dominate the set pieces, but scrappy play in the loose, allowing the opposition too much freedom, and a failure to tackle effectively was a big factor in their failure to get anything out the opening half.

Action from Billingham v Carlisle match

Action from Billingham v Carlisle match










Carlisle battled manfully but there seemed little they could do to neuter the threat from their hosts.

Billingham added a brace of tries midway through the half, one of them converted and added a further seven points on the half hour.  Just on the break Billingham lost their right winger to the bin, and even so, at this point Carlisle looked as though they were staring into an abyss!

Lock Mark Barron did not resume after the break because of an ankle injury and he was replaced by “Biff” McGimpsey.  Full back Ben Blain had to retire too with a leg injury, allowing James Armiger into a reshuffled back division.

Full back Ben Blain and lock Mark Barron - second half spectators!

Full back Ben Blain and lock Mark Barron - second half spectators!











Whatever was said during the half time team talk seemed to have some effect, because Carlisle came out fighting and quite determined not to let Billingham have the same freedom as before.  They battled with grit and determination, leaving the opposition to wonder where their superiority had gone to!

Billingham back up to fifteen men with the return of their wing man, were soon down a man again when they lost the oppositie winger to a yellow card.

Carlisle were putting the home line under quite a bit of pressure and eventually on the hour mark, number eight Lee Brumpton touched down for an unconverted try. This gave his mates some impetus, but within a short time, defensiove errors allowed Billingham to break away and claim  a try below the sticks – converted,

Carlisle stuck to their guns though and kept plugging away with prop Matt Shields denied a try in the left hand corner with his own touch judge signalling that the lad had been in touch!

Persistent attempts to reduce the arrears were largely frustrated but winger Barry Earl grabbed a try just on the final whistle with flanker Bobby Sherlock lobbing over the conversion.

Too little, too late, but Carlisle can be proud of the way they fought back to try and salvage something from the match – one of two halves.  In the second half the pack were excellent, with the front row particularly outstanding.

Line out success!

Line out success!










The Billingham line under late pressure.

The Billingham line under late pressure.












15        Ben Blain
14        Richard Hawley    

13        Dan Holmes
12        Matt Charters
11        Barry Earl
10        Lian Nicholls
9          George Graham
1          Steve Stamper (Captain)
2          Tom Graham
3          Matt Shields
4          Aidan Day
5          Mark Barron (Martin McGimpsey)
6          Bobby Sherlock
7          Gareth Wylie
8          Lee Brumpton
16        James Armiger
17        Martin McGimpsey


George Graham (scrum half)

George Graham

George Graham









with the entire front row as the runners up