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The Under 15’s travelled to Cockermouth looking for their first win of 2010, with high stakes to play for in a delayed County Cup match.
Playing in perfect weather conditions, against a glorious backdrop of the Lakeland fells, the visitors had a slow start as nerves were clearly getting the better of them. Playing on a surface that mimicked the contours of the ball they were playing with, we struggled to get into a game that Cockermouth were clearly determined to win, and only some desperate defensive work and a little luck allowed us to clear our lines. Whilst our photographer struggled to fit his periscope attachment to see the other side of the pitch, a clearance kick from fly half Ben Shadwick allowed us to press forward into the Cockermouth half for the first time. Following a series of infringements and penalties, centre Andy Glendinning decided to forego the easy kick for 3 points and released Jack Mitchell with a tap and go to power over for our opening try which Andy converted. Cockermouth quickly pressed forward from the re-start using all the local knowledge of the slopes and contours of the pitch. Carlisle were penalised a number of times for infringements at the ruck, and a 10m tap and go penalty was nearly converted into a try but for some sterling work by James Bulman to get under the Cockermouth player. Carlisle had to soak up a lot of pressure from the eager Cockermouth forwards, who were gaining the upper hand in the scrums. Defensively the Carlisle forwards were able to repel the attacks, and good work from Harry Manton, Stewart Cannon, and Chris Marsh allowed the ball to be stolen and let Ben Shadwick clear his lines for a breather and a counterattack. With the ball flighted over the Cockermouth line up the right hand side a knock on forced a scrum on the Cockermouth 10m line. With the scrum steadied after Reuben Shepherd replaced Tom Carlyle who was struggling with a neck injury, scrum half Ollie Armstrong fed Ben Shadwick who spotted a half gap and crashed his way through between the posts, but was controversially adjudged held up at the bottom of the pile of bodies. With the visitors now scenting another try, Stewart Cannon picked up from the scrum and driving right pulled the Cockermouth defence with him. The ball was then quickly worked back left and with markers out of position, Jack Mitchell crashed his way through the defence for a try just left of the posts, which Andy Glendinning converted for the last score of the half.
The second half saw the visitors now starting to feel a bit more confident in their abilities. With Cockermouth looking to get on to the score sheet, only some desperate defensive work at times saw Carlisle hold their lines, but some good tackling and teamwork, kept the sheet clean and the home team at bay. The pack were forced to re-arrange after James Bulman was pinned at the bottom of a collapsed scrum with a nasty neck injury, but Rhys Pattinson and a re-juvenated Tom Carlyle were able to stabilise things, and despite pressure from Cockermouth for the last few minutes, the visitors were able to hold out to win. This was a determined effort and good teamwork by the under 15’s which hopefully they can maintain to further their aspirations in the cup competition.