Hartlepool Rovers 10 v Carlisle 27

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North 1 East League
Saturday, 13th February 2009

Carlisle travelled to the north east knowing that nothing less than a victory would do to help salvage their season that has been disappointing to date.  And, they did just that, in style too.

The Rovers had a fairly sound home record with only two defeats and despite this reverse they remain in third slot in the league.  The only disappointment from the outing is, that the Warwick Road should have amassed a greater points tally.  Still, hopefully this outing was the start of a renaissance!

The Friarage side were expecting an easy scalp and we brought down to earth with a bump.  On this display, any neutral would have been driven to the view that the respective league positions were actually the reverse of reality.  Never take it for granted that things will go your way, especially in this north east town where, in the past the locals voted for a monkey to be their elected mayor!

Watching the Rovers run out onto the field, and opponents would have been forgiven if they had been fazed by the size of the opposing pack  –  clearly they the had the benefit of at least a stone per man.  In the event that counted for nothing as Carlisle went about their task with purpose and skill, generally neutralising any threat that was posed.

The coaching staff at Carlisle had carried out major surgery (mainly positional) to their XV beforethis match, and it was quickly apparent that to their supporters, that any doubts they may have had about the line out, were quickly dissolved.

The pack was very solid wit the home team unable to cope with the strength and technique on offer.  Such was their combined contribution that is was hard to single out anyone for special praise, but pivot Lee Brumpton won the accolade because of his personal brace of tries that helped secure a victory that was good value for money, and one for which Hartlepool could have no complaint.

Lee Brumpton

Despite this fine win, Carlisle still remain second bottom in their league, but only ten points behind the ‘Pool in third place.  With ten league games remaining, six of them at home, given the optimism that follows the result on Saturday, Carlisle should be able to rescue what has been a difficult season.

On Saturday, ther youthful back division was buoyed by the return of “old boy”, Lewis Boyd – not much more than a youth himself, but with some serious national league experience behind him at Fylde, and more recently at Kendal.  Boyd turned out at full back and was soon involved in the match.  Apoart from looking secure as the last line of defence, his upfield surges linking with the three quarters, instilled confidence in his colleagues.  What’s more his verbal motivation was being heeded by fellow backs and had good effect!

The Carlisle half backs generally shifted the ball well allowing the team to make ground.  Dan Holmes on the left wing, had his best game of the season and was unlucky not to grab himself a couple of tries he would have deserved.

Lewis Boyd

But, the platform for this success was down to the effort put in by the pack, and they rarely looked troubled.  This despite the fact for twenty minutes they were down to fourteen men;  flanker Dan Smithson saw yellow for a handling offence in a ruck on twenty minutes and just as he returned, hooker Tom Graham was penalised for the same indiscretion.

Carlisle opened their account on thirteen minutes when fly half Glen Weightman slotted a penalty.

The only othe score in the first half came six minutes before the break, and a try for the hosts followed one of their rare forays into the Carlisle twenty two area.  They made a determined onslaught on the Carlisle line, and did manage a try.

After the rest period, and playing into a bitterly cold wind, Brumpton landed his first try on forty three minutes but Weightman missed the extras with the ball going wide.  Within four minutes, Hartlepool had restored their half time lead with an unconverted try, but that was to be their lot for the day.

Carlisle continued to dominate up front, and relief the Rovers front row might have got from the retiral of tight head prop, Martin Kalinowski, was short lived.  The recent recruit from the Cumbria League is still adjusting to life a few levels above what he is used to.  “Biff” McGimpsey came off the bench to replace him and keep up the pressure on the opposing front line.

At the midway point Weightman converted a second try from Brumpton, and within a couple of minutes, George Graham, an industrious scrum half added to the cause but his try was not improved.  In scoring, Graham took a knock and left the field to be replaced by that great all round team player, Ben Blain.  Blain has perhaps been a shade unfortunate in losing his place, and he quickly gave notice with his direct running and positive passing, that he is still very much a serious contender.

Ben Blain

Carlisle continued to press and kept the home defence under regular pressure.  With a few minutes remaining, Smithson, who worked tirelessly throughout, was replaced by Adam Morrison.

Into injury time, Boyd surged evasively up field and offloaded to right winger Olly Barker to land the final try in the corner, with Weightman landing the conversion from the touch line.

Job done!  But, only for now.  There is a need to repeat the quality of this performance, and Carlisle have an early opportunity this coming Saturday.  They entertain Ilkley who are below then in the league, but if any one thinks it will be a push over, thinl again!  The Dalesmen turned over Billingham, a result that serves notice, that they too are going to fight to the end for survival.

SCORERS FOR CARLISLE:

Tries:

Lee Brumpton (2)
George Graham (1)
Olly Barker (1)

Conversions:

Glen Weightman (2)

Penalties:

Glen Weightman (1)

PICK OF THE PACK:

Lee Brumpton

BEST OF THE BACKS:

George Graham

THE STARTING TEAM:

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

[slidepress gallery=’hartlepool-rovers-v-carlisle’]