Carlisle 38 v Driffield 11

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North 1 East League
Saturday, 2nd October 2010

At last!  Entertaining Driffield at Warwick Road, Carlisle eventually found a modicum of form that brought them their first success of the season to the delight of players and spectators alike.

The city side are still suffering from a host of injuries to key players, and with some unavailable due to work commitments, and to a degree there was more than a little apprehension going into this game.  With Driffield below Carlisle in the table it was a must win game.

Carlisle fielded some new faces from their colts production line, and they certainly didn’t disappoint.

Young Joe Blaylock deputised at scrum half for Ben Blain (unavailable) and he didn’t disappoint.  Despite this being his debut in senior rugby, he acquitted himself well.  He busied himself about the field, was quick around the base of the scrum and his delivery was good.

Carlisle opened well and quickly had the visiting defence at full stretch, and it appeared to be only a matter of time before they crossed the fragile line!  Indeed, the break came as early as four minutes.  From a scrum about ten yards out the Carlisle pack pushed for all they were worth, allowing number eight James Pavitt to touch down.  Sadly, young fly half, Grant Connon was not able to add the extras.

Action from the match (Carlisle in red shirts):

[slidepress gallery=’carlisle-v-driffield-rfc-2nd-oct-2010′]

Carlisle kept up the pressure for a short while and then for some reason they seemed to ease off, and this allowed Driffield back into the game, largely through lack of concentration and silly mistakes.  Full back Lee Birch, upfield in support of the attack, levelled the score after five minutes but couldn’t convert his own try. But, in the next ten minutes he slotted two penalties to put his side in the driving seat for a while.

Visions of earlier matches wasn’t something Carlisle could contemplate and whilst dealing with the threats being posed by the Yorkshiremen, they plugged away with some constructive approach work, crafted by the young half back pairing of Blaylock and Connon.  Eventually it paid off, allowing outside centre Chris Harris the first of his brace of tries.  Connon found the gap this time to reclaim the advantage for his side.

Both teams probed away for the remainder of the opening half that ended with Carlisle having a one point benefit.  The game was too close to call, and given the inconsistency earlier, what was to follow could not have been foreseen.

With no changes made during the break, and after the first few minutes of the second period, Carlisle took firm control of proceedings.    The pack were doing sterling some sterling work.  The pack created a plentiful supply of ball, and spent long periods driving their opponents back to defence their line.    Connon’s shrewd positional kicking gave his team good advantage, and from the ensuing line outs where Pavitt was a dominant force, there was ample possession for the backs to entertain with.  Indeed, the number eight could rarely be faulted at the line out.

Driffield lost one of their locks to the sin bin on forty nine minutes and Carlisle took instant advantage with prop and former skipper, Steve Stamper touching down for Connon to improve his kicking confidence with the conversion.

Martin Brodie, back in town after graduating, was on the right wing, and did enough to suggest that he could be a regular try scorer.  On the hour he made a powerful run down the touchline to claim the first (unconverted) of his two tries.

Flanker Lee Brumpton who had taken a knock was replaced at this point by Gareth Wylie.

Subsequently, Carlisle spent long periods camped on the Driffield line and should have had at least a couple of scores for their efforts  –  often disrupted by some illegal interference that penalty tries would have been justifed, so consistent was the infringing;  but, the referee saw it quite differently!

But due punishment was inflicted in the last ten minutes of the game when Brodie went over for his second (Connon converted) and two minutes later, Chris Harris, starting to find his form from last season, grabbed his second, Connon again converting from the touchline.

All in all it was a satisfying day for Carlisle.  They have given themselves a platform to build on but care needs to be taken that increasing confidence does not lead to complacency.

Tries:        James Pavitt (1)  Steve Stamper (1)  Chris Harris (2)  Martin Brodie (2)
Cons:        Grant Connon (4)

PICK OF THE PACK & MAN OF THE MATCH: Number 8 – James Pavitt

BEST OF THE BACKS:  Stand off Grant Connon

15        James Clark
14        Dan Holmes
13        Chris Harris
12        Barry Earl
11        Martin Brodie
10        Grant Connon
9          Joe Blaylock  (TimHughes)
1          Steve Stamper
2          Tom Graham
3          Martin McGimpsey  (Duncan Harty)
4          Mark Barron (Capt)
5          Paul Halliday
6          Bobby Sherlock
7          Lee Brumpton  (Gareth Wylie)
8          James Pavitt
16        Gareth Wylie
17        Duncan Harty
18        Tim Hughes