Carlisle v Northern 19th Feb 2011

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You almost need something to control the blood pressure to watch Carlisle play at the moment!  A score to settle after they taught us a lesson at McCracken Park in the autumn, should have been sufficient impetus for the team on Saturday.

But, it seems not a lot learnt from the previous week when Carlisle let Percy Park walk away with the league points.
Northern have had a difficult first season since promotion, but given the way they troubled Carlisle for periods in this game, they had more about them than did their near neighbours, Percy Park, the previous week.

The first half was a dour affair.  It was pretty scrappy affair with both sides looking for dominationnbut with not a lot off effect.  Northern seems restricted to trying drives through the midfield, and Carlisle wasted an awful lot of possession by kicking the ball away too often.

Grant Connon opened the account for Carlisle on 12 minutes after missing an earlier chance  a couple of minutes a couple of minutes into the game.  Half time was approaching before the next points were posted, but it was the visitor’s who touched down in the left hand corner.  Connon reclaimed the advantage three minutes into added time with his second penalty.

After the break it was Northern who opened brightly and had the homer defence under examination when the ball broke free just inside the Carlisle territory.  Full back Lewis Boyd was alert to the opportunity and managed to bot the ball upfield with no one to beat.  He collected the ball with some Northern defenders in pursuit, but his speed was too much for them and the scored between the posts, allowing Connon to stretch the margin to eight points.

That lead was short lived though because the north east side  landed a converted try themselves within four minutes.
Both sides had some solid defending to do in the following period and it looked like  Carlisle might cede the match when they went into reverse when they let in another try on 66 minutes, and it was lucky for them that the Northern kicker had an off day, missing the conversion as he did with a penalty attempt a few minutes earlier.

Hurt by the thought that defeat was real possibility, Carlisle were stung into action, and for the remainder of the game gave Northern a hard time on their own line.  The quality of their play improved, and had they approached the game the same way earlier in the afternoon, they wouldn’t have ended up having to chase a victory.

[slidepress gallery=’carlisle-v-northern-rfc-19th-feb-2011′]

Concerted assaults on ther visitor’s line ought to have brought some tries from the back, but at least they managed to get the ball out to Boyd And Harris who added a try apiece between the sticks with young Connon converting both.
Not a classic display, but at least Carlisle were able to consolidate there mid table position!

Tries:    Lewis Boyd (2), Chris Harris (1).
Cons:    Grant Connon (3).
Pens:        Grant Connon (2).
DG’s        –

Result:            27 pts v 17 pts
Half Time Score:    6 pts v 5 pts

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

Pick of the pack:    Dan Smithson
Best of the backs: Grant Connon
Next Match: 26/02/2011   Pontefract V Carlisle  Kick off at  2.15 pm