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Arriving at Gala, it was impossible not to be aware of the long history behind this club, the Clubhouse walls lined as they are with photographs of international honours.
We expected a stern test…..
Carlisle started strongly, pinning the hosts back in their own 22, but the Gala pack was strong and defended well.
An early highlight was a direct run from a quick penalty, which saw Jack Stephenson almost make the line.
Midway through the half, Carlisle pressure was eventually rewarded when Jordan Ribiero powered over to score. Mike Fearon converted.
Gala came back strongly, and for a spell neither team dominated, until good hands from a scrum freed Adam Robertson who made a great direct run from 40 metres to score. Tom McMann converted.
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Peebles started facing downhill and came out all guns blazing.
They pinned back Carlisle in their own 22, kicking for a succession of line-outs.
After 7 minutes, the inevitable happened and they drove over for a try from short range. This was unconverted.
From the kick off, Carlisle replied with pressure and good forward work, camping in the Peebles 22 for a sustained spell.
All this pressure went unrewarded however, and an interception led to a second Peebles try after an 80 metre sprint. Again the try went unconverted.
Carlisle heads could have gone down…but instead they replied straight from the kick off, Dominic McGrath picking up from the back of the scrum and darting through from 40 metres for a great solo effort.
A spell of end to end kicking ensued, and with seconds to go in the first half, Mike Fearon broke through to score, following up with the conversion, to make the half time score 12 – 10 to Carlisle.