Carlisle v Sandal

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at Warwick Road, Saturday, 5th September 2009 – 3.00 pm

Carlisle open their North 1 East campaign when they entertain Sandal who will be making their second visit to the city.  Last year the Yorkshire outfit were one of a sprinkling of teams to do “the double” over Carlisle.

A tough encounter is expected, but Carlisle will be looking to take revenge for narrow defeats.

One or two new faces will appear in Carlisle colours, although the Warwick Road club depend largely on homespun talent, with more promising youngsters getting their chance.

Max Connon at full back

Max Connon at full back

Max Connon gets the nod at full back and has the chance to make the berth his own.  Stefan Helies, who was a regular full back last season, is a long term injury statistic, and awaiting surgery.

Lee Askew, a close season signing from Aspatria, makes his Carlisle debut when he partners Chris Harris in the centre.  The wing slots are taken by Kieron Little, who sprang to prominence in the cup games at the end of last season; and Martin Brodie makes his senior bow on the left.

The half back duo will be Ben Blain at scrum half with George Graham as his outside partner.

Supporters will be looking for an enhancement on the promise shown by the backs last term, and they have had some intensive tuition from a new specialist “backs” coach, Gary Fleming, who has crossed the Pennines from Tynedale where he was a long serving centre.

Gary Flemming - new backs coach at Warwick Road

Gary Flemming - new backs coach at Warwick Road

The front row is pretty much “as you were” with Tom Graham hooking and supported by Steve Stamper (captain) and Martin McGimpsey.

Aidan Day and Martin Grealish will be in the second row;  Matt Davis, another youngster makes his debut on the flank along with Mark Allan who will be looking to hold down a regular place, having spent much of last season as a bencher.

Mark Barron seems to have fully recovered from a knee injury and starts at eight.  He too will be hoping for some consecutive matches to give a competitive edge to the threat from Lee Brumpton who is recovering from shoulder surgery.

Mark Barron - looking for a regular place!

Mark Barron - looking for a regular place!

On the bench:  Dan Smithson (signed from Creighton), Gareth Wylie and Dan Holmes.

1st XV v Sandal

15    Max Connon
14    Martin Brodie
13    Chris Harris
12    Lee Askew
11    Kieron Little
10    George Graham
9      Ben Blain
1      Steve Stamper (Captain)
2      Tom Graham
3      Martin McGimpsey
4      Aidan Day
5      Martin Grealish
6      Matt Davis
7      Mark Allan
8      Mark Barron
16    Dan Smithson
17    Gareth Wylie
18    Dan Bowman