Carlisle v West Hartlepool 2nd April 2011

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Date of match:        02/04/2011
TEAM:            1st XV         
MATCH:            Carlisle v West Hartlepool
(League/Cup/Other):    North 1 East
RESULT:            15 pts v 39 pts
HALF TIME SCORE:    10 pts v 15 pts

Carlisle are finding it hard at the moment to get any return from their matches, and if they are not careful, they may find themselves dragged into the relegation battle, with three teams dropping out at the end of the term.  Losing this encounter with table toppers, West Hartlepool, may well have been expected by some, and although the final score seems a wide margin, perhaps the game the city side put together was not as bad as the result suggests.

Hampered at the outset by selection problems because of work committments and injuries, Carlisle fielded (and that it not a reflection on those that did play) a below strength side.  Credit though to those that took to the field;  they gave their all to the cause, although in the end it was not enough.

With five regulars missing from their pack, the front eight did not allow themselves to be bullied by their loftier opponents.  By no means did WH have it their own way, despite their greater bulk.

Not to detract from their consistency this season, West were by no means the best side seen at Warwick Road, and if they succeed with their promotion ambitions, then they will need to strengthen if they hope to stay at the next level!

[slidepress gallery=’carlisle-v-west-hartlepool-rfc-2nd-april-2011′]
A bright start to the game was brought to a halt after five minutes when the Carlisle outside centre, Chris Harris,  was quite deliberately targeted taken out by two opponents.  After treatment he took no further part, Simon Little coming on as the replacement.

Within a minute of play resuming Carlisle suffered a reverse when the visitors took a converted try.  The game was fairly evenly matched with the home side matching anything that was thrown at them.  WH lost flanker Jon Boatman at the mid point in the half with a suspected broken leg.  Grant Connon reduced the deficit a couple of minutes later and then on twenty eight minutes, following a scrum ten metres out, scrum half Joe Blaylock escaped attention and dummied through the defence to put his side ahead with a try converted by Connon.

The advantage was short lived though, with the north east men pulling level through a penalty.  Just as it looked as though Carlisle would go into the break with honours even, they ceded a try wide out on the right in added time.  10 pts to 15 pts.
After the rest, Carlisle started brightly.  Good work by flanker Mark Allan, set winger Martin Brodie away down the right to level the score, but a conversion eluded Connon on this occasion.

Carlisle stuck gallantly to their game and were testing the visiting defence on occasions, but too many wrong options denied them chances to improve their lot.  Although WH added a couple of tries early in the second period, the home side were always in the hunt, until the latter stages when two more tries killed them off.

Carlisle have five games remaining, three of them at home, and two of the latter against teams below them.  So, salvation rests in  their own hands!  The task will be a tough one, with Pontefract, at Warwick Road next week, having closed on Carlisle with a great win (including a bonus point) on Saturday.

Before the start of the match on Saturday, Robson’s Medical Services of Brunswick Street,  presented the club with a portable heart defibrilator.  Hopefully, it will never have to be used, but the club are very grateful for the great generosity shown to them by the company.  Physiotherapist, Jen McCreadie accepted the machine on behalf of the club.

SCORERS:          
Tries:    Joe Blaylock (1), Martin Brodie (1)
Cons:    Grant Connon (1).
Pens:        Grant Connon (1).
DG’s

STARTING XV & REPLACEMENTS:
15   Max Connon
14   Martin Brodie
13   Chris Harris (Simon Little)
12   Luke Bell
11   Barry Earl
10   Grant Connon
9     Joe Blaylock
1     Steve Stamper (C)
2     Stu Graham
3     Martin McGimpsey (Callum Hermeston)
4     Paul Halliday
5     Eddie Faulder (Martin McGimpsey)
6     Mark Allan (Josh Holmes)
7     Bobby Sherlock
8     Tom Ritchie
16   Simon Little
17   Callum Hermeston
18   Josh Holmes

PICK OF THE PACK:    Paul Halliday
BEST OF THE BACKS:        Grant Connon
NEXT MATCH:    ON 09/04/2011 – Carlisle V Pontefract – KICK OFF 3.00 pm