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A tense and tough encounter!
Warwick Road was host to a war of attrition this weekend as Carlisle played local rivals Wigton. Both sides have shown improvements after a dismal start to the season which saw Carlisle and Wigton at the foot of the table. However, with Wigton still very much in the drop zone and Carlisle now gaining momentum in mid-table, the Warwick Road side were favourites going into the game.
This did not deter the visitors by any means, and despite the muddy conditions, there were times when both sides looked dangerous in attack. The game started with both teams seeking to wear down their opposition: this was not going to be a game of beautiful rugby. Carlisle kicked off, and duly started to make their way up field. Wigton were strong in defence, but Carlisle managed to edge their way up into Wigton’s half, retaining possession for the first 10 minutes of the game.
Carlisle’s centre Matt Tinsley was carried off injured after a ruck collapsed on top of him, and replaced by Luke Bell. With Carlisle deep in Wigton’s half, the home side was awarded a penalty for infringements at the ruck, enabling fly-half Glen Weightman to open the scoring at 3-0 to Carlisle. Wigton came back with a purpose, however, and effective rucking and attacking backs play saw them in Carlisle’s half, where they forced a penalty from the home side. Carlisle’s number eight Lee Brumpton was penalised for lying on the ball in the ruck, and subsequently shown a yellow card.
Full back Greg Scott was able to secure the points, equalising for Wigton on 28 minutes. Although at times both sides showed indiscipline, it was Wigton who were to suffer the most, allowing seven penalty attempts at their goalposts by the home side. Wigton did seek to take advantage of a 14-men Carlisle side, spinning the ball wide continuously before seeking to break through the home side’s mid-field. Carlisle remained resolute in defence, and at times even made inroads into Wigton’s half, despite the disadvantage.
Carlisle’s second penalty attempt came in the 34th minute as the home side forced a penalty from the scrum. Weightman was left disappointed, however, as the ball just narrowly edged wide of the posts, thanks largely to the jeers of a large Wigton support. Just before half-time, he was able to make amends, as a further Wigton indiscipline led to another penalty, which Weightman was able to secure with ease.
This left the score 6-3 going into half-time. The second half saw a rise in intensity as both sides found opportunities to swing the ball out wide, and both sides made use of their powerful forwards. It wasn’t long before the penalty count once again began to mount up, and within five minutes Wigton again conceded a penalty. This provided Carlisle with the chance to substitute the injured Callum Rowlandson with Dan Smithson, who came into the second row.
Weightman wasn’t able to secure a further three points, however, as the ball again just edged wide of the posts. As the game wore on, Carlisle were able to absorb furious pressure from the Wigton pack A penalty 10 metres from Carlisle’s try line was taken by the forwards as they made an attempt for a score. Carlisle worked well under pressure however, and some fierce counter-rucking allowed Weightman to kick Carlisle to safety.
Wigton were soon back in Carlisle’s half, although briefly, and this time they managed to come away with points. Another penalty allowed Wigton’s Greg Scott to equalise, in what would be the visitor’s last points of the game. On 60 minutes, Lee Brumpton was substituted for Eddie Faulder, who came into the second row, allowing Dan Smithson to resume his preferred position in the back row. The last quarter of the game was characterised by both teams upping the tempo in a bid to secure victory.
As with any local derby, both teams were matched in intensity, despite their current league positions. It was Carlisle who then managed to edge ahead, taking advantage of the visitor’s mistakes at the breakdown, which were penalised. This allowed Glen Weightman to take a further three points off Wigton, putting Carlisle ahead 9-6, and a few minutes later added another penalty. At 12-6, and with only minutes left of the game, Wigton fought frantically to find Carlisle’s try line, but the city side again proved too strong for their local rivals, and absorbed the attack.
Another loss means Wigton are still mired in the relegation zone, 2nd from bottom. With Aspatria winning this weekend, the gap between the two sides is closing rapidly, with a much improved Anselmians pulling away above them. Carlisle on the other hand, are now edging their way in mid-table, and a few more league wins should be enough to maintain a comfortable distance from the drop-zone. Next week Carlisle are away at Broughton Park, while Carlisle 2nd XV host Trafford Metrovick at home.
Carlisle 12 pts Wigton 6 pts
RFU SSE North 1 West League
Saturday 28th January 2012
Scorers for Carlisle: Pens: Glen Weightman (4)
Carlisle Man of the Match: Mark Barron – second row
The Carlisle XV & replacements:
15 Lewis Boyd
14 Dan Holmes
13 Barry Earl
12 Matt Tinsley (Luke Bell)
11 Martin Brodie
10 Glen Weightman
9 Tim Hughes
1 Joe Anderson
2 Tom Graham
3 Martin McGimpsey
4 Mark Barron
5 Callum Rowlandson (Ed Faulder)
6 Lee Brumpton (Dan Smithon)
7 Bobby Sherlock (C)
8 Gareth Wylie
15 Ed Faulder
17 Dan Smithson
18 Luke Bell