Carlisle 56 v Driffield RFC 24

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North 1 East League

Saturday, 17th April 2010

On a lovely spring afternoon at Warwick Road, Carlisle bounced into action, seeking revenge for their heaviest league defeat of the season at Driffield in the early part of the season.  Already certain of survival, caution was thrown to the wind, and the home supporters enjoyed a display of open and attacking rugby.

Yet again the home side were forced into changes before the kick off  because of training injuries. Carlisle drafted in James Clark at full back for his first full league outing since breaking his leg a couple of years ago and he didn’t disappoint.

Number eight Lee Brumpton withdrew after the warm up so the pack was reshuffled.  Dan Smithson moved from the flank to pivot the pack, with John Bowman coming off the bench to join the back row.

Within 40 seconds of the start, Carlisle had their first points on the board.  From a line out on the left, just inside the Driffield half, they won possession, scrum half Ben Blain shuttled the ball across the line to Chris Harris, and with the threes advancing at pace, he offloaded to Lee Tinnion on the right wing and he lanced the defence to touch down in  the corner.  Fly half Glen Weightman then opened his account for the day with the extras, in what was expected to be a battle for kicking supremecy with the opposing full back, Lee Birch.  Birch had been the leading kicker in the league all season, until he was dislodged recently by the Carlisle kid; and the latter was not about to cede the accolade back to his foe easily!

Glen Weightman with a touchline conversion.

Glen Weightman with a touchline conversion.

The Carlisle pack dominated the early play against much heavier opponents and it was their foraging and hunger for the ball, that gave their half backs the chance to position the threequarters for damaging raids into their opponents territory.

Carlisle continued to put pressure on their guests and with a little more assured handling could have landed another couple of tries within the opening minutes, but had to be content with a cheeky dropped goal from Weightman on 10 minutes before full back Clark joined the try scoring list 4 minutes on.  A speedy attack with the full back joining in allowed him to touch down in the right hand corner for a converted score.

Clearly confident, and determined to atone for that early season reverse in East Yorkshire, they kept pounding away in search of points; although, given the opportunity, Driffield made occasional trips into the Carlisle area and made it clear that they were well capable of taking advantage of any laxness in the defences.

On 21 minutes Weightman took Carlisle out to a 21 point with a penalty but this was reduced within a minute by Birch, who had his first opportunity at goal with a penalty he didn’t miss.

Weightman added a further penalty and then on 34 minutes after a fine run down the left wing, Clark was

James Clark at full back.

James Clark at full back.

about to touch down when he was shouldered off the field by full back Birch who, for his endeavours, injured his arm and took no further part in the match.  When play resumed, and Driffield had shuffled their resources, they that paid off.   put Carlisle under a spell of pressure.  Scrum half Craig Gray, their best player, found a loophole in the barricades and scored allowing number eight Chris Bradshaw to convert on assuming the kicking duties from Birch.

Into injury time with the break looming, outside centre Chris Harris intercepted a loose ball in the centre of the field and was unstoppable in his quest to touch down between the sticks; conversion Weightman.

On the face of it a 27 point lead at the interval looked convincing enough but the Yorkshiremen had other ideas and came out fighting in the second period.  Their pack, having looked ragged in the closing stages of the first period, came back apparently refreshed by the rest, and for a while kept the home defence busy repelling their efforts.  That said though, it was the Warwick roaders that drew first blood in the second half.

At 47 minutes Clark and Barker combined going forward and let lively scrum half, Ben Blain, away for the the first of his brace of converted tries.

Driffield, always looking dangerous when they got the opportunity, were next to add to the points feast with a try from prop Andrew Fraser, converted by Bradshaw.

Next came Carlisle’s turn again, after Weightman missed an easy penalty ahead of the posts, left wing Olly Barker touched down, and again Weightman lost his sense of direction with the kick!

Within a couple of minutes Driffield added another converted try from wingman Josh Parker.

Ben Blain added his second try between the sticks with three minutes remaining and Weightman took his personal tally for the afternoon to 21 points from his six conversions, two penalties and a dropped goal.

It may sound as though only the backs were working for Carlisle, but this was a good all round team effort from a team of youngsters who have threatened to cause damage throughout the season, not always fulfilling the promise!  But, without the overall supremacy of their pack, in wich number eight Dan Smithson really caught the eye, and the sharpness and vision of the half back duo, the Carlisle backs would have had little to play with.
His kicking exploits apart, Weightman worked hard and his solid distribution and effective positional kicking played a huge part in this success.

Dan Smithson - pick of the pack.

Dan Smithson - pick of the pack.

Carlisle will go into their final fixture of the season next week, when they entertain relegated Gateshead, and they have a score to settle with them too!

SCORERS FOR CARLISLE:

TRIES:            Lee Tinnion (2), Ben Blain (2)  Chis Harris (1), James Clark (1)  Olly Barker (1).

CONS:            Glen Weightman (6)

PENALTIES:  Glen Weightman (2)

DROP GOAL:Glen Weightman (1)

PICK OF THE PACK:        Dan Smithson (pic above)

BEST OF THE BACKS:    Glen Weightman (above)

STARTING XV:

15    James Clark (Chris Harris)
14    Lee Tinnion
13    Chris Harris (Dan Holmes)
12    Lee Askew
11    Olly Barker
10    Glen Weightman
9      Ben Blain
1      Steve Stamper (Captain)
2      Tom Graham
3      Martin McGimpsey (Graham Kidd)
4      Gary Graham
5      Mark Barron
6      John Bowman
7      Bobby Sherlock
8      Dan Smithson
16    Graham Kidd
17    Paul Halliday
18    Dan Holmes

MATCH PICTURES:

[slidepress gallery=’carlisle-v-driffield-rfc-17th-april-2010′]