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City side extract revenge
Early season defeat by one point at Warwick Road was on the minds of the Warwick Road men on their second trip of the season to the south Merseyside area. After a shocking start to the season, Carlisle have been gradually improving and whilst not overconfident, the self belief that has been restored stood them in good stead at Wirral.
Work committments and injuries were reflected in changes to the starting line up with Barry Earl coming into the centre to replace Simon Little (injured) and Lee Brumpton coming in at eight for Gareth Wylie (work).
The usual pitch at Wirral was deemed to be unfit, so the game was moved to a nearby field, and on a crisp afternoon, Carlisle set out the business of redeeming their failure to secure victory at Warwick Road in the autumn.
The Carlisle pack took early control of the game in a fashion that Wirral had difficulty coping with, and it was apparent from the outset that Wirral would have problems containing the workrate of the Carlisle eight. Wirral had problems holding the Carlisle pack in the scrums, and it was all the more amazing that they managed to retain their own ball, with their pack invariably going backwards at a rate of knots! But, when they had the ball, they used it intelligently, and their speedy backs did pose threats to the Carlisle rearguard throughout the afternoon.
Despite the agility of the home backs, it seemed it would only be a matter of time before the Carlisle pack would open an account, but it was almost quarter of an hour before the breakthrough came when Lee Brumpton touched down after a scramble on the line, though Glen Weightman missed the conversion.
Both home and away supporters agreed at this point that it was likely that the floodgates could open, such was the domination of the visiting pack. Not to be though; the Wirral defence, albeit under severe pressure, managed to contain raid after raid. The only other score of the half came a couple of minutes before the break with Weightman adding a penalty, giving the city side a deserved advantage at the break.
Much of the same was expected in the second half but as is often the way, it didn’t quite work out that way. Wirral were determined to get a return from the encounter and they battled like demons to disrupt the Carlisle tactics. Weightman had an opportunity to add to the tally but failed with a penalty just after the restart.
Four minutes in, Wirral got their first points on the board with a penalty from Craig Harvey.
Carlisle were then forced into making a change with Brumpton replaced by Dan Smithson. The effectiveness of the pack was not disrupted by this, but for a while a game of ping pong developed with Wirral regularly kicking deep into Carlisle territory, sensing a chink the defensive armour! For the most part Carflisle managed to repel the incursions into their territory, except that on 57 minutes they ceded a converted try, allowing Wirral the advantage for the first time.
Weightman reclaimed the lead for Carlisle within a couple of minutes but that was short lived with Wirral adding a penalty to set up a tense final quarter of an hour.
Despite having generally dominated, it was looking as though Carlisle were staring a defeat in the face to curtail their revival of recent weeks. Dogged determination was the watchword though; with a penalty awarded on 81 minutes, and the referee signalling it was last play, Carlisle took a tap penalty on the left in their own twenty two area. What was to follow was most unusual. Managing to hold onto possession, Carlisle managed to maul their way 70 yards upfield, and on the home line, scrum half Tim Hughes, being the only man outside the maul, got the ball and wriggled his way over for a try just left of the sticks. Weightman stepped forward to make sure with the conversion. Relief!
If Carlisle had failed to take the league points they would only have had themselves to blame.
RFU SSE North 1 West League
Saturday, 14th January 2012
Scorers for Carlisle:
Tries: Lee Brumpton (1), Tim Hughes (1).
Cons: Glen Weightman (1).
Pens: Glen Weightman (2).
Man of the Match: Scrum half Tim Hughes – apart from his match winning try, he was an inspiration throughout the game.
15 James Rocke (Matthew Minett)
14 Dan Holmes
12 Barry Earl
12 Matt Tinsley
11 Martin Brodie
10 Glen Weightman
9 Tim Hughes
1 Joe Anderson
2 Tom Graham
3 Martin McGimpsey
4 Mark Barron
5 Callum Rowlandson
6 Tom McCullough
7 Bobby Sherlock
8 Lee Brumpton (Dan Smithson)
16 Ed Faukder
17 Dan Smithson
18 Matt Minett
After a free Saturday next week, the local derby with Wigton at Warwick Road looms on 28th January 2012 – 2.15 pm. Wigton will be looking to avenge the result at Lowmoor Road earlier in the season.