Carlisle v Old Crossleyans 12th March

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Eventually, after a shy first half, Carlisle got into their stride and played some good rugby and were worthy of their win.

Old Crocs came to Warwick Road on the back of a comprehensive home victory over neighbours Cleckheaton, who have been in the leading group at the top of the league for most of the season.

The Crocs were in confident mood, and probably for the first time this season the Carlisle front five were put under some severe pressure.  The certainly did not get it all their own way, and were made to fight throughout.

The early minutes of pressure came from the home side and with a bit more luck Carlisle could have been three points to the good from being camped on the visitors line.    But, they had to be content with a couple of penalties from fly half Grant Connon.  Crocs landed a penalty too, between the two Carlisle efforts.

The game then settled down, but Carlisle knew they had a game on their hands, because for the remainder of the opening half, they were made to battle for every ball, and the Halifax side clearly had victory on their minds.

The home cause wasn’t helped when they lost number eight James Merton half on the twenty minute mark with an ankle injury.  Credit though to Mark Allan who came into the back row as the replacement.

Starved of ball for periods, the Carlisle backs didn’t see a lot of the ball. But it was a good team effort and Carlisle were able to increase their advantage just into added time.  Carlisle had a line out on the right about five metres from the Old Crocs line.  Flanker Bobby Sherlock secured the ball from the line out, and eventually hooker Tom Graham touched down during a push over;  but it too wide for Connon to convert.

Undeterred though, the visitors were determined to make their mark during the visit to the city and there was still time for an unconverted try as the break beckoned.
A one point advantage was never going to enough and Carlisle had to pull out all the stops in the second period to keep the Yorkshire marauders at bay.

Carlisle realised they had the strength and capacity to secure the league points, and whilst the game was played out mainly by the forwards, the backs pulled off a couple of great tries without reply.

The opposition pack was tiring and Carlisle made sure they dominated the second period.  The pack secured sufficient ball for the half back brothers, Max and Grant Connon to distribute effectively.  On fifty six minutes a crisp backs movement saw full back Lewis Boyd lance through the defence, offload to outside centre Chris Harris who made thirty yards to score between the post, Grant converting.

Tails up, more of the same within two minutes, left wing Dan holmes touching down in the left hand corner but the extras eluded Connon.
Carlisle looked in control now and Connon added a penalty on sixty eight minutes and they were to be the last points of the game.  Try as they might to add another score to secure a bonus point, Carlisle were unlucky not to add more tries.

A much improved display, especially in the second half ensured that Carlisle kept their league placing, but they need to keep looking over their shoulders, because one or two teams below them are starting to put runs together and clsoing the gap.  There is no room for complacency and the trip to Doncaster to play Wheatley Hills on Saturday is an important appointment!

Match pictures to follow soon.

RESULT:            26 pts v 10 pts
HALF TIME SCORE:    11 pts v 10 pts

Tries:    Tom Graham (1), Dan Holmes (1) & Chris Harris (1)
Cons:    Grant Connon (1).
Pens:    Grant Connon (3).
DG’s        –

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

PICK OF THE PACK:    Mark Barron
BEST OF THE BACKS:    Max Connon

NEXT MATCH:    ON 19/03/2011 Wheatley Hills V Carlisle – KICK OFF 3.00pm