Carlisle 42 v Ilkley 7

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North 1 East League
Saturday, 20th February 2010

Having waited since early December for a game on home soil, the city side certainly looked good value as they turned over the visitors from Ilkley.  The previous week, both teams turned in what to some, were unexpected results, by defeating teams lying second and third in the league.  Carlisle won convincingly at Hartlepool Rovers, whilst Ilkley vanquished Billingham.

Therefore, the scene was set for an interesting dual, with both teams desperate for league points to retain level 6 status.  From the quality of rugby served up by both teams, it would be readily apparent to any neutral observer, that neither outfit deserved to be in the nether regions of the league.

Any worries about the state of the pitch after a heavy overnight frost, were quickly cast aside. Both the hosts and their guests tried to play some open running rugby, with Carlisle more than managing to convince that confidence had been rebuilt.  Their pack managed to battle for, and get sufficient ball for the backs to menace their opponents with plenty of open attacking play.

Carlisle did not have it all their own way though;  Ilkley showed sufficient grit to keep the Warwick Road defence under pressure on their own line on several occasions.  The defence battled well to repel some sustained assaults, leaking only one score just before the break.

Fly half Glen Weightman had the chance to open the home acount but only maaed to strike a penalty in front of the post onto the offside post!    Within a couple of minutes though, Ben Blain, favoured at scrum half over George Graham, darted over for a try following a scrum five yards out, but the fly half ha still not found his kicking range for the bonus points!

Ben Blain

Carlisle continued to dominate, although they always had to be on their mettle when Ilkley got the ball, and could have been a greater danger if they had been served by a half decent set of backs!

Another try came on twelve minutes when the home pack drove over the line with skipper and loose head prop, Steve Stamper touching down  letting Weightman eventually findhis kicking boots.

Outside centre Chris Harris added a converted try on the half hour mark.  The remaining minutes of the first half were spent in rather more defence than  had been the case, and Ilkley and flanker Hamish Pratt touched down with former Creightonian full back, Pete Shanks, landing the conversion for his sides only other points of the game.

Steve Stamper

Shortly after the restart, Weightman stretched the advantage with another penalty.  Ilkley then went on the offensive and kept Carlisle penned back for a lengthy period, but the defence kept its nerve and the wall wan’t breached!

Quarter of an hour into the second period, Carlisle were forced into some changes.  Full back Lewis Boyd came off with a knee injury;  Blain moved to fifteen, George Graham coming on at scrum half.  Tight head prop, Martin Kalinowski retired too with Biff McGimpsey moving up from lock, allowing Paul Halliday from the bench to replace him.

Within minutes, Weightman added another penalty and from then on much of the match was spent midfield with the two packs slugging it out for supremecy.

In the closing four minutes of the match Carlisle added two well deserved tries.  Dan Holmes went up the left wing from well within his own half, offloaded to Olly Barker who was up in support with him, allowing him to touch down.

Scrum half Graham added his name to the try column just as the final whistle was due;  he kicked the ball through from halfway, and followed it through before scoring to the left of the sticks.

Weightman converted both.

In the end a comfortable scoreline, and apart from the welcome two league points, it helped to reduce the points differential substantially.

Carlisle should not get complacent though.  There is still much work to do, but with five of their remaining nine fixtures on home turf, the odds must be in their favour.

A special thank you to the guys of Ruggerpix.com who managed to get us out of a fix when gremlins got into the technology during Saturday’s match.

Next week they travel to Halifax to meet Old Brodleians.

PICK OF THE PACK: Dan Smithson.

BEST OF THE BACKS: Ben Blain.

SCORERS FOR CARLISLE:

Tries:

Ben Blain (1)
Steve Stamper (1)
Chris Harris (1)
Olly Barker (1)
George Graham (1)

Conversions:

Glen Weightman (4)

Penalties:

Glen Weightman (3)

THE STARTING XV:

15    Lewis Boyd (Ben Blain)
14    Dan Holmes
13    Chris Harris
12    Barry Earl
11    Olly Barker
10    Glen Weightman
9      Ben Blain (George Graham)
1      Steve Stamper (Captain)
2      Tom Graham (Graham idd)
3      Martin Kalinowski (Martin
McGimpsey)
4      Mark Barron
5      Martin McGimpsey (Paul Halliday)
6      Dan Smithson
7      Bobby Sherlock
8      Lee Brumpton
16    Paul Halliday
17    Graham Kidd
18    George Graham

[slidepress gallery=’carlisle-v-ilkley-20th-feb-2010′]