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With an eye to the forthcoming county cup game next week, players were keen to make their mark for selection in this return game against Workington Zebras.
We were all anticipating a keenly fought contest in frost-free conditions for a change and we were not disappointed. Well it was keenly fought and it was frost-free, however instead of watching sweeping backs moves as they strode gazelle-like across a manicured pitch, the monsoon conditions produced a bruising forwards game as they wallowed in the mud.
At times it was difficult to tell the teams apart, with eventually everyone looking the same shade of brown. Carlisle seemed to adapt to the conditions better than the visitors, and were soon on the scoreboard with a try from hooker Chris Marsh.
This was soon to be followed up with another try from No 8 Stuart Cannon as he forced his way through the Workington defence. The backs did get into the game and Adam Bauld scored another well worked try after some some decent handling through the backs in spite of the worsening conditions.
The forwards were working well together as a unit by now and dominating the scrum and following some good rucking Stuart Cannon broke away and scored the Carlisle fourth try. Workington to their credit were not giving up,and were unlucky not to score as the referee adjudged them to be held up on the line, following some driving play by their forwards. They were eventually rewarded for their efforts from the resulting scrum despite a desperate effort by Kirsopp, and put some points on the board just before half time.
The second half was a bit more even as the conditions began to sap everyone’s strength. Following some driving runs down the left the ball was quickly worked across the backs, and with the Workington defence stretched, fullback Jack Walker was able to touch down for the fifth try.
Workington however were still fighting for every ball and following a scrum in the Carlisle 22 they cleverly broke right, down the blindside, catching the Carlisle defence napping to score under the posts. Carlisle were not to be outdone and with some further driving work from Chris Marsh, who worked tirelessly all day, the ball was eventually released for Reuben Shepherd to score the last points of the game.
Both teams should be congratulated for putting on an absorbing and entertaining game despite the appalling conditions that were more suited to the paddy fields of Asia than the NW of England.
Result: 30 v 14
Half time score: 20 v 7
Report sent in by: Bill Glendinning