West Hartlepool 36 v Carlisle 30

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North 1 East
Saturday, 11th September 2010

Carlisle travelled to the the north east to meet the former Premiership outfit and optimism was high despite the reverse of the previous week.  If the newly introduced league bonus points system was meant to produce more tries and attacking rugby, then if this game was used as a measure of that intent, then it succeeded!

The city side introduced some debutants for this important game  –  former colt, Callum Hermeston was handed the tight head prop berth and did more than was expected of him, indeed he was adjudged to be the pick of the pack.    James Pavitt, who has moved to the area from the south west was at number eight and did enough to suggest that he is will be a force to be reckoned with before he was lost to the cause on 20 minutes, when he was whisked off to hospital with facial injuries that could not be temporarily repaired on the touch line.

At this point Carlisle were two tries to the good and looking good value for their efforts, and causing the home defence more than a few problems with some incisive attacks that ‘West’ were finding difficult to counter.

West Hartlepool v carlisle RFCDan Holmes opened the scoring 7 minutes into the contest after a good break by scrum have Ben Blain from the right line.  Fly half, Grant Connon was unlucky with the conversion attempt, that bounced back off the posts, having suffered a similar fate with a penalty attempt a few minutes earlier.


Play continued apace with both sides playing some entertaining rugby and it was Carlisle who added to their tally ten minutes later.  Full back Lewis Boyd mesmerised his opponents when he lanced his way down the right before offloading for winger James Clark to touch down for an unimproved effort.

Within a couple of minutes, Pavitt was lost to the cause with Gareth Wylie taking his place in the back row.  Although there were signs that the loss of the number eight had affected their fluency, the visitors kept up the pressure and on 26 minutes, Connon got the try he deserved although yet again, the posts prevented his conversion attempt.

The hosts clearly shocked at being three tries in arrears, sensed some discomfort in the Carlisle ranks and pulled back with three tries, the first on 31 minutes, with the other two coming in added time  –  and it was than they probably deserved given the dominance Carlisle had displayed.

Young Tom Ritchie had to retire at the break with a knee injury and this caused more disruption to the Carlisle back row.  Skipper Mark Barron moved from the second row with Martin McGimpsey coming off the bench.  And, within five minutes of the restart, the remaining member of the back row became a lost cause too, Lee Brumpton retiring with a neck injury.  To loose all of the starting back row was a real blow for Carlisle, but the side never gave in, albeit that they began to look rather more vulnerable than they had been.

Eight minutes into the second period Connon eventually missed striking the uprights when he glided a penalty through to regain the lead.  It was short lived though, because during the next seven minutes ‘Pool added a brace of converted tries to seize the initiative.

Clark added his second try to close the gap, but that joy was short lived when on 62 minutes the arrears were further extended when another converted try took the hosts out to 36 pts to 23 pts.

Times were tense  –  a promising enterprise had turned into a bit of a disappointment, although Casrlisle never gave up the cause and battled to the finish with outside centre, Chris Harris, legged more than half the field to touch down, with Connon converting.

Not what Carlisle wanted,  They had travelled to the east coast looking for a maximum return, but came away with two points  –  one for scoring more than five tries, the second for losing by less than seven points!

PICK OF THE PACK: Callum Hermeston on his debut at tight head prop.  Opponents are going to know he is around!

BEST OF THE BACKS: Relative veteran, Simon Little, a steady influence in the centre and now playing with lads he has taught at school!

SCORERS FOR CARLISLE:

Tries:    James Clark (2) Chris Harris (1) Dan Holmes (1) Grant Connon (1)

Cons:    Grant Connon (1)

Pens:    Grant Connon (1)

STARTING XV:

15    Lewis Boyd
14    James Clark
13    Chris Harris
12    Simon Little
11    Dan Holmes
10    Grant Connon
9      Ben Blain
1      Steve Stamper
2      Tom Graham
3      Callum Hermeston
4      Paul Halliday
5      Mark Barron (Capt) (Martin McGimpsey)
6      Lee Brumpton (Mark Barron)
7      Tom Ritchie (Matt Rogers)
8      James Pavitt (Gareth Wylie)
16    Martin McGimpsey
17    Gareth Wylie
18    Matt Rogers

Match gallery to follow but can be found in the right hand side of the front page on the main galleries secion