Under 9/10 End of season report

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An unfortunate mix of bad luck and bad decisions  put a dampener on the seasons finale – but the players can hold their heads up high after  series of exceptional performances  which could have seen them earn a canbinet full of silverware.

There was an uncertain start to the tournament season with a tough opener at the Vale of Lune. A late withdrawl from Carlisle’s group meant that  narrow defeats to Preston and Liverpool saw us on the bus home after just two games. Scant reward after the long trip to Lancaster. But the team performed well against quality opposition. Plenty of players enjoyed a run out with Bruce Spencer and Chris Green shining.

Closer to home for the next tournament – the Cumbria festival at Aspatria – in which a series of exceptional performances including a one all draw against eventual winners Tynedale – saw the team through to a semi final against Upper Eden. Carlisle dominated the game crossing the Upper Eden line three times  only to see their scores ruled out – through great defence or an unsighted referee. Even a period of extra time which again saw Carlisle camped on the Upper Eden line failed to separate the teams  – leading to a final period in which the first ‘golden try’ would be the decider. Again Carlisle dominated but it was Upper Eden who broke away to score the winner. An heroic effort and a devastating outcome. Superb performance all round – Half backs Bruce Spencer and George Hollings showing real class – Adam Harrison and Sam Low combining tough tackling and silky skills in the centre and Alex Hodgkinson and Gregory Baines tackling and running hard from the wing.

To the Tynedale sevens next  and with George Hollings ruled out with a broken wrist it was Ruaridh Barkers turn to play a blinder at scrum half  – whilst Rory O’Brien adpated well to the fly half role when Bruce Spencer took a nasty knock to the head. After a narrow opening round defeat against Morpeth the team made easy progress from the group to the quarter final – only to come up short against a superb Egremont side  – our nemesis all season and a team which sets the benchmark for us to aim for next year. Carlisle went down 5-1  our biggest defeat of the season – but remained competitive throughout. Egremont went on to win the competion inflicting 7- walkovers in the semis and final.

At the traditional seasonal finale  – the Alnwick festival in Northumberland  – there were more heart stopping moments. In a tight group stage  Carlisle lost their opener against Morpeth 2-1  before dominating a 1-1 draw against Tynedale B – just enough to squeeze into the quarter finals of the main competition. Josh Park was outstanding in the opening games – winning good set piece ball and putting in a series of big tackles. In the quarters Carlisle came up against hosts Alnwick and it was a home town decisions which won the day  – Alnwick winning 2-1 with a try from the wrong from a player who everyone thought was in touch – apart from the home touch judge. It was a bitter disappointment  as Carlisle had done enough to win the game.  On the back of this result Carlisle dipped into the semi final of the plate competition   comfortably seeing of Ponteland  with a 5-1 demolition. William maughn, Tom Percival and Jack Harrison all had a chance to shine in a one sided encounter. In the plate final Carlisle came up against a big  Sunderland side. But despite the wearsiders  size advantage it was Carlisle’s forwards who applied the pressure   – allowing Carlsle to take a 2-0 half time lead. Toby Huggon excelled again at hooker  – but after taking a knock was replaced by ‘Mr perpetual motion’ Luke Finney who always works hard to win good ball for Carlisle. Despite continuing to apply most of the pressure Carlisle allowed Sunderland to claw back one try, and then with time nearly up Sunderland sneaked over again with a last gasp effort to tie the scores at 2 -2.  With no extra time allowed the game was decided on tries conceded throughout the competition – Sunderland taking the trophy   by just one score.

The under 10shave shown great commitment and promise all season and deserve so much more for  their efforts.  Competition for the squad player of the year awards is going to be tough. 

Time now to put the boots away til September – perhaps lady luck will smile on us next season.

Steve Park

Under 9/10 Coach