Carlisle 25 v Pontefract 24

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North 1 East League
Saturday, 27th March 2010

CARLISLE CLIMB THE TABLE

Carlisle managed to win this tense encounter at Warwick Road, and as result they have jumped several place in the league, after those above them before the kick off, all lost.  No need to get carried away though, there is still a lot to do, and with four games remaining, two away followed by two at home, the destiny of the city side is in their own hands.  Back to back wins are great but as they say, “two swallows don’t make a spring”!

Pontefract always offer dogged opposition and are a difficult team to break down and it was soon clear that they hadn’t travelled north just for a day out.  They made Carlisle work hard for their reward, and were always a danger in possession.

In the opening minutes, Carlisle saw little of the ball, save for a couple of penalties from fly half Glen Weightman on three and eight minutes.  They were still trying to get themselves into gear when they found themselves in arrears on thirteen minutes when the visiting fly half, Glen Boyd found an opening in the shaky Carlisle defence to score.  Andy Dean (wing) converted.

This spurred the home attack into action and within a couple of minutes, outside centre Chris Harris made a daring break upfield, offloaded to number eight Lee Brumpton who barged over for the try.  Weightman converted.

With both sides battling for supremecy, it brought an edge to the proceedings, especially for the supporters who were a little worried that it was all to close for comfort!  The Pontefract XV (and the referee) were being bossed by their number eight, the wily Barbarian, Derek Eaves.  The experienced pivot marshalled his troops to good effect, and seemed to want to referee the game too, and it appeared that at times, his efforts were bearing fruit!

Indeed on twenty five minutes Eaves landed a try for Dean to convert, putting them in the driving seat for the second time in the game.  But, with five minutes of the opening period remaining, Olly Barker on the left wing took a great ball from Brumpton and restored the Carlisle advantage with a great try for Weightman to make it 20 pts to 14 for the home side at the break.

Picture of Carlisle RFC player Ollie Barker

Ollie Barker - a try before the interval

After the break Carlisle brought on experienced prop, Martin McGimpsey, to replace tight head Martin Kalinowski who is still learning his trade.  Both sides probed away, with Pontefract preferring the high ball over the Carlisle defence;  the home side trying to keep possession in the front eight, with hooker Tom Graham being difficult to combat with his forward drives and ball in hand.

The south Yorkshire side closed the gap with a penalty on fifty three minutes and from then on it was battle of wits, both sides threatening to score.  On sixty seven minutes Carlisle had a scrum, wide right and about five yards from the Ponte line;  scrum half Ben Blain shuttled the ball across the threes with winger Lee Tinnion making a powerful finish count, but Weightman was unlucky with the conversion.

Tension really mounted on eighty one minutes when the visitors pulled back to within one point after a converted try from

Picture of Carlisle RFC player Tom Graham

Tom Graham (with ball) - determined and the pick of the pack

winger Simon Spears.  Carlisle did all they could to ensure that they retained a grasp on proceedings, but it could have gone either way.

Weightman had a marvellous opportunity to finally clinch it for his mates when, just into added time, he evaded the defence in the middle of the field and surged upfield with a speed not seen before!  Into the opposing twenty two, with Tinnion up in support on his outside, and one defender to beat, he passed out to Tinnion who was unlucky to knock on!

It was one of those encounters where the result could have gone either way, but Carlisle deserved the points, albeit that it was not from one of their more polished performances.

They now have four games remaining starting with Easter Saturday at Darlington, a team who have slipped from the top three to the bottom three.  Taking the game for granted will be a serious mistake, but having dealt with them comfortably earlier in the season, Carlisle will be quietly confident of a result.  The week after they have to travel to Sandal who are vying with Billingham for the automatic promotion slot; and then end the season by entertaining Driffield and Gateshead.

SCORERS FOR CARLISLE:

TRIES:    Lee Brumpton (1), Olly Barker (1), LeeTinnion (1).

CONS:    Glen Weightman (2).

PENS:     Glen Weightman (2).

PICK OF THE PACK:    Tom Graham (pic above)

BEST OF THE BACKS: Chris Harris (below).

Picture of Carlisle RFC player Chris Harris

Picture of Carlisle RFC player Chris Harris

THE STARTING XV:
15    Lewis Boyd
14    Lee Tinnion
13    Chris Harris
12    Lee Askew
11    Olly Barker
10    Glen Weightman
9      Ben Blain
1      Steve Stamper (Captain)
2      Tom Graham
3      Martin Kalinowski (Martin McGimpsey)
4      Mark Barron (Paul Halliday)
5      Gary Graham
6      Dan Smithson
7      Bobby Sherlock
8      (Lee Brumpton (Mark Barron)
16    Paul Halliday
17    Martin McGimpsey
18    Tim Hughes

PICS FROM THE MATCH:
[slidepress gallery=’carlisle-v-pontefract-27th-march-2010′]