Defeat, Down but not out

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Wednesday, 29th April 2009

The adventure in the Cumbria Cup came to an end at Bower Park, Aspatria on 29th April.  Disappointing though defeat is, the Carlisle players can hold their heads high after what was a magnificent display in front of an admiring crowd.  Neutrals in the crowd were surprised at the quality of the play from both sides, but seemed especially taken by the developing skill of the youngsters in the city team.

Action from the Cup Final

Action from the Cup Final










Skipper Steve Stamper led a team into battle,  well prepared by Richard Metcalf and his coaching team, and they too can take pride in the team that has been fashioned together with an eye to the future.  The blend of experience and precocious youth can go into next season full of optimism, but in the knowledge that there will be someone breathing down their necks for a place in the team.  The camerarderie and competition for a place in the team has been healthy and long may it be so.

Skipper Steve Stamper - led by example

Skipper Steve Stamper - led by example








Penrith may have added the Cumbria Cup to their North 2 East title but they were made to work more than hard for their second item of silverware by a spirited and capable Carlisle side.  Two tries in the space of a few minutes just before half time, proved to be the crucial scores in what was generally an even and entertaining final.

Those two converted tries pushed out the Penrith lead to 22 – 8, which proved to be a match winning advantage.

For despite more territory and possession than their N2E rivals in the second half, Carlisle just couldn’t do enough although they outscored Penrith 12 – 6.

Late on as they chased the game, Carlisle’s sharp, exciting young backs created two or three good running opportunities but but on each occasion a little bit of experience let them down.

On the basis of what they showed on the night, however, both sides have a solid bedrock of youngsters which promises much for the future of both clubs.

The game got off to an explosive start on a perfect Bower Park pitch with a try each in the opening five minutes.

Penrith struck first when strong forward pressure on the Carlisle line finally saw Jali use his power to bundle his way over.  Wood hit the crossbar with the conversion attempt.

But Carlisle drew level in their first serious attack on five minutes, Max Connon put in a little grubber kick for his winger Kieron Little to get on the end of.

Little tried to hack on again but it fell conveniently into the path of Connon who swooped to score in the corner.  Glen Weightman pulled the conversion wide.

Carlisle tried to maintain the early tempo but some shrewd kicking by Wood put Penrith back in the ascendency and strong pressure under the Carlisle posts eventually warranted a penalty from the referee, Martin Denvir.  Wood put it over.

But Carlisle responded well again and with Lee Brumpton and Matt Charters influential and lively figures in the city pack they enjoyed a spell of pressure themselves, and they too were awarded a penalty which Weightman put across to level the scores on twenty nine minutes.



 But the game changed dramatically with those two tries in the closing minutes of the first period to suddenly put Penrith firmly in control, fourteen points to the good at the interval.

After the break Carlisle needed to score first to give them encouragement for the second half and they probably didn’t make inroads as soon as they would have liked.  They had good pressure on the Penrith line and got over three times without being able to ground the ball properly.

Carlisle pounded the Carlisle linbe for sustained spells in second half.

Carlisle pounded the Carlisle linbe for sustained spells in second half.











Both sides started to make substituions by the time the breaktrhough came on fifty six minutes.  Good foraging by the Carlisle forwards prompted by replacement lock Martin Grealish and skipper Steve Stamper ended with Aidan Day crashing over for the try that Weightman converted.









It was game on again, but Penrith rallied well and when Wood was taken out by a late challenge he received treatment and then got up to pop over the penalty.  He put over another penalty with nine minutes remaining, a crucial kick which virtually closed-out the game at 28-15.

But Carlisle weren’t finished.  The marauding Matt Shields – and the evidence of his spell as a replacement he is clearly one to watch for the future – almost set up a try for Chris Harris and twice young Connon couldn’t hold on to passes in mid field when slicing through with menace as Penrith looked vulnerable.  When they did finally score it was too late – Weightman’s failed cpnversion attempt was the last action of the game after Shields had touched down after linking well with Ben Blain and Connon.






























 15        Max Connon
14        Ben Blain (Dan Holmes)
13        Chris Harris
12        Liam Nicholls
11        Kieron Little
10        Glen Weightman
9          George Graham (Ben Blain)
1          Steve Stamper (Captain)
2          Tom Graham
3          Martin McGimpsey (Matt Shields)
4          Aidan Day
5          Gareth Wylie (Martin Grealish)
6          Bobby Sherlock
7          Matt Charters
8          Lee Brumpton
16        Matt Shields
17        Martin Grealish
18        Mark Allan
19        Ross Olney
20        James Armiger
21        Dan Holmes
22        Matt Davis


On a night when so many gave so much, no individual nomination was made.