Carlisle 36 v Hartlepool Rovers 12

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North 1 East League
Saturday, 24th October 2009


After a somewhat stuttering start to the season the Warwick Road lads found enough fuel to oil the pistons enough to find some of the rhythm that has been missing of late.

Two wins from seven prior to this encounter was not a very favourable return; and after the final twenty minutes at Gateshead the previous week, there were indications that an improvement in the teamwork was emerging.  Emerge it did, as Hartlepool Rovers, newly promoted, found themselves under the cosh for a good part of the game.

As the teams ran out for the kick off, the Carlisle faithful could have been forgiven for thinking that another defensive barrage might have to be mounted.  To a man, Rovers looked a much bigger side and their arrogant swagger was soon put to the sword by a host side wanting to atone for a poor start to the league campaign.   The Rovers wanted to recover from their narrow home defeat (23  –  25) by league leaders Billingham the previous week, and if they felt Carlisle were going to be the whipping boys, then they were badly disappointed.

The opening shots came from Carlisle who took the game to Rovers in confident style.  The pack worked well against their heavier opponents, rucking and mauling to good effect.  They did not have it all their own way though, and had to work hard in defence to prevent the north east side getting a foothold on the game.

Scrum half George Graham - opening try.

Scrum half George Graham - opening try.

Eleven minutes into the opening half, scrum half George Graham broke loose about 30 metres out and couldn’t be caught before  touching down for the opening try that was just too wide left for Glen Weightman to convert.  However, he found his direction within five minutes to add a penalty.

The Warwick Road team were visibly gaining in confidence and a couple of minutes later, lock forward Dan Smithson grabbed a fine try with Weightman converting.

Rovers were clearly not content to sit back and on twenty six minutes managed an unconverted try wide out on the left, but that was to be their lot for the opening period before Weightman added a penalty to give his side the comfort of an 18 pts to 5 pts advantage at the break.

Mark Barron on guard as scrum half Graham rummages for the ball.

Mark Barron on guard as scrum half Graham rummages for the ball.

Within minutes of the restart Rovers were reduced to fourteen men, the referee deciding that he had heard enough of their attempts to referee the game, and flashed a yellow card.  Carlisle were quick to capitalise and Barry Earl on the left wing, was released to score in the left hand corner.

Carlisle relished the response from Rovers, who lost the ball for Weightman to boot up field into the Rovers twenty two;  Smithson got there and kicked it through a gap in the defence who had missed the lurking George Graham who nipped in for his second try of the match on forty seven minutes.

Carlisle had grabbed their chances in the game and their increasing confidence was compounded with an audacious dropped goal from Weightman just outside the twenty two area.

Hartlepool responded with a converted try on sixty two minutes.

Carlisle were not finished though and hooker Tom Graham, who had a fine game, barged over line to complete a satisfactory afternoon.

Not perfect, but a huge improvement on the previous three outings that had ended in disappointment.  If Carlisle can build on this display then they need have nothing to fear and should not worry about some after match Rovers suggestions that the city side were mediocre  –  it says more about how much better they were than their foes who clearly thought they were better than the score reflects!

More pictures from the match

More pictures from the match

Star men:

Forwards:    Dan Smithson
Backs:          Glen Weightman

Scorers for Carlisle:


George Graham (2)
Barry Earl (1)
Dan Smithson (1)
Tom Graham (1)


Glen Weightman (1)


Glen Weightman (2)

Droppd goals:

Glen Weightman (1)

The starting line up:

15    Max Connon
14    BenBlain
13    Chris Harris
12    Dan Holmes (Ross Olney)
11    Barry Earl
10    Glen Weightman
9      George Graham
1      Steve Stamper (C)
2      Tom Graham
3      Mark Allan (Lee Brumpton)
4      Martin McGimpsey
5      Dan Smithson Matt Davis)
6      Gareth Wylie
7      Bobby Sherlock
8      Mark Barron
16    Lee Brumpton
17    Matt Davis
18    Ross Olney

Next week Carlisle travel to Ilkley.