Darlington 22 v Carlisle 35

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North 1 East League

Saturday, 3rd April 2010


In the end it was a comfortable win for the city side but they had to work hard for the victory that they did deserve.  Darlington’s position is more dire than that of Carlisle and the result means they remain rooted to the third relegation slot.  But, Carlisle have no room for error, despite now lying seventh in the league, the position is so tight that the threat of relegation still remains for the time being.

Both sides probed tentatively in the early stages, Darlington edging the forward exchanges, but with the game only a couple of minutes old, fly half Glen Weightman put Carlisle ahead with the first of three penalties he was to land.  From the restart, the visitors were put under pressure with an apparent sense of urgency from a team trying to halt a slide down the league pyramid system.  However, on six minutes, scrum half Ben Blain scrambled the ball out to Lee Tinnion on the right and he surged up the wing from within his own half to touch down;  Weightman converted.

Undeterred by this, the home forwards appeared capable of using their possession more wisely and on occasions it was only stoic defence that kept them at bay, but they did find a way through on the ten minute mark with a converted try.

Whilst the city pack was not playing badly, for a time they seemed content to let the north easterners have their own way, and live on scraps of possession, but when they did get the ball to their back division. the latter looked hungry.  The half backs worked well together and inside centre, Lee Askew made a solid contribution helping the threes to operate smoothly; and with experienced full back Lewis Boyd barking advice from behind they posed a threat that the home defence had difficulty in countering.

Picture of Carlisle RFC player Lee Askew

Centre Lee Askew - creative in midfield

On thirteen minutes Carlisle won the ball from a line out on the right, the ball was shuttled across field and Boyd coming up in support, lanced through at speed to score in the left hand corner, but it was too far out for the conversion!  Within a minute or so though, a penalty narrowed the gap to 10 pts to 15 pts, and a couple of penalty misses stopped Darlington from edging ahead.

Just on the break, Carlisle engineered one of their rare visits to their opponents twenty two area and made it count.  From a scrum about ten yards out, the ball found Weightman who flicked on to left wing Olly Barker, who found a way through the defence to score between the posts, with his supplier improving with the conversion.

The Carlisle pack had seemed slow to recognise the worth of their backs in the opening period, because if they had releasedf the ball a little more often, they had the firepower behind them to do damage, as the three forays upfield had proved!

Gary Graham outjumps in a line out.

Gary Graham outjumps in a line out.

After the turn round, the visitors had to endure renewed vigour from Darlington who were not about to let the game slip from their grasp without a fight.  They closed the gap to three points, taking seven on fifty minutes and another try three minutes later.  It was getting too close for comfort and the visitors looked a shade vulnerable.  Within minutes they lost lock Mark Barron, yellow carded for pulling down a maul.  Strangely, this was the turning point for Carlisle and they all pulled together to make up for the manpower shortage, and Barron’s second row partner, young Gary Graham, really caught the eye with an outstanding display throughout.  He worked hard all afternoon and was always there with constructive support, and destroying the opposition effort at every opportunity.

Carlisle really got to grips with their task for the remainder of the game and consistently put the home line under pressure, and with a little more luck could have had two or three tries before the seventy minute point, when Boyd added to his earlier try.  From a scrum a couple of yards out, the ball was passed out to the full back and he weaved his way through to land a try in the corner.  Weightman converted and then made the outcome safe with a penalty for crossing with five minutes remaining.

Picture of Carlisle RFC Player Gary Graham

Lock, Gary Graham - pick of the pack on the day.

The Warwick Road club have three matches left in the campaign.  Next week they travel to Sandal and can expect a tough encounter.  They need to aim for both league points and must not depend on tothers below them losing.  Carlisle might lie seventh in the table but safety is not yet certain.

The third relegation berth (12th place) can yet be occupied by any one of six teams.


Tries:    Lewis Boyd (2), Lee Tinnion (1) and Olly Barker (1).

Conversions:    Glen Weightman (3).

Penalties:    Glen Weightman (3).

PICK OF THE PACK:    Gary Graham (see pic above).

BEST OF THE BACKS:    Lee Askew (pic above).


15    Lewis Boyd
14    Lee Tnnion (James Clark)
13    Jack Oddie
12    Lee Askew
11    Olly Barker
10    Glen Weightman
9      Ben Blain
1      Steve Stamper  (Capt)
2      Tom Graham (Graham Kidd)
3      Martin McGimpsey
4      Mark Barron
5      Gary Graham
6      Gareth Wylie
7      Bobby Sherlock
8      Lee Brumpton
16    Graham Kidd
17    Paul Halliday (not used)
18    James Clark
[slidepress gallery=’darlington-v-carlisle-rfc-3rd-april-2010′]