Driffield v Carlisle

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In the past, Driffield has never been a happy hunting ground for Carlisle.  In their four previous visits the city side have only managed a draw, and last season had their heaviest ever league defeat inflicted on them.

After an enforced lay off due to the weather, the team were anxious to get back into action and after a shaky opening few minutes they settled down to the task in hand and ground out a worthy victory.

The win cements their mid table position, but more importantly helped to close the gap on Durham City who were eight points ahead at start of play.  With Durham losing,  Carlisle were able to close down the gap to just two points, the bonus point for tries scored, helping their cause.

From the off, Carlisle were forced to defend with the Yorkshiremen apparently determined to make life uncomfortable for the visitor’s.  However, some sterling defence kept them at bay, and in the third minute, the normally dependable, and leading points kicker in North 1 East, Lee Birch (full back) failed with a relatively easy penalty attempt.

This was the catalyst for Carlisle to “up” the tempo and they did so with no little determination.  After some good play in their own half, outside centre Chris Harris made some ground and with Lewis Boyd up in support, the latter gratefully accepted a pass and jinked his was through a fragile defence to touch down between the post, giving Grant Connon the easiest of conversions.

[slidepress gallery=’driffield-v-carlisle-rfc-15th-january-2011′]

Whilst Carlisle retained the general initiative, they could not afford to relax their attention as was evidenced six minutes later when some lax defence allowed Driffield the luxury of a converted try, something that they probably didn’t really deserve let alone expect.

Game on, and Carlisle took notice, and the remainder of the opening half they kept the pressure up on the home defence.   There were frequent forays into the home twenty two area with the line under pressure for good periods.  With more guile about their play, two more tries before the break came from the pack  –  flanker Dam Smithson and lock Paul Halliday managed a touch down apiece, Connon adding to his impressive kicking tally on both occasions.  The only retort from Driffield was a penalty between the latter two tries.

Perhaps an eleven point lead looked comfortable enough going into the second period, but Carlisle looked sufficiently determined to improve their lot, probing away looking for the opportunities.  Full back Lewis Boyd made a number of piercing thrusts upfield and the Driffield defence found him hard to cope with.

With a bit more luck tries could have resulted, but some sloppy handling, and passes going astray in a strong wind, thwarted early attempts to increase the advantage.  After ten minutes Max Connon came on for Barry Earl (injured) in the centre.  Within minutes an impressive backs move got the ball out to Martin Brodie on the right wing and he pwered thirty yards to try in the corner.  Grant Connon couldn’t manage the extras in the swirling wind.

Within minutes Carlisle were down to thirteen men with first Max Connon seeing yellow for an offside infringement, followed five minutes later by prop, Steve Stamper for an attempted trip!  As expected Driffield tried to make food of their numerical advantage and grabbed a couple of tries, one of which was improved. With one point the difference between the teams it made for a tense closing spell, but Carlisle did enough to earn the victory.

Tries:    Lewis Boyd (1), Dan Smithson (1), Paul Halliday (1) and Martin Brodie (1).
Cons:    Grant Connon (3).
Pens:        0
DG’s        0

15 Lewis Boyd
14 Martin Brodie
13 Chris Harris
12 Barry Earl (Max Connon)
11 Dan Holmes
10 Grant Connon
9 Joe Blaylock
1 Steve Stamper
2 Tom Graham
3 Martin McGimpsey (Martin Kalinowski)
4 Mark Barron (Capt)
5 Paul Halliday
6 Dan Smithson
7 Bobby Sherlock
8 Tom Ritchie (Tim Hughes)
16 Martin Kalinowski
17 Tim Hughes
18 Max Connon

MAN OF THE MATCH:        LEWIS BOYD  –  put in a gritty performance at full back and it was he who engineered the victory for his team mates.

PICK OF THE PACK:        BOBBY SHERLOCK – often the unsung hero in the pack, Sherlock was at the heart of all the action and drew admiring comments from the home supporters.

BEST OF THE BACKS:        LEWIS BOYD – (see Man of the Match above).

(League/Cup/Other):    NORTH 1 EAST LEAGUE
RESULT:            25 pts v 26 pts
HALF TIME SCORE:    10 pts v 21 pts