Colts v Billingham 17th March 2012

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Carlisle Colts were expecting a tough game against Billingham after their defeat to them earlier in the season, and were not disappointed.

A game played in perfect conditions, produced an outstanding game of Colts rugby, and none of the spectators could have been dissatisfied with what they witnessed.

Both teams gave a 100% and more, with skill levels as good as any on display all season at Warwick road. Carlisle were first to draw blood after a period of sustained possession and territory in Billinghams half.

[slidepress gallery=’carlisle-colts-v-billingham-rfc-17-march-2012′]

Centre Euan Foster caught a Billingham clearance and some interplay with fullback Alex Clark allowed wing Matty McCullough to use all his physical strength to avoid the attentions of the Billingham defence to touchdown in the right corner.

Billingham attacked from the restart and after a period of sustained pressure in the Carlisle 22, worked the ball across the back line, creating an overlap for their winger to score. Both sides continued to create chances but the first half finished honours even.

There was no drop in intensity as the second half kicked off, and Carlisle were soon on the attack, with some typical hard running from Adam Robertson creating problems for the visitors defence.

Billingham however were quick to steal ball and with the Carlisle side stretched, quickly swung the ball wide for their winger to drift round the side of the home defence for their second try. The game continued to be evenly balanced between the two sides, with both sides creating chances, and Carlisle were unlucky not to equalise when fly half Tom McMann was held up on the line.

Billingham however used their speed advantage on the wing to cruise past the despairing home defence to score their third try. Any thoughts that this might be the end of the game were quickly dispelled, when Andy Glendinning fly hacked his way through the Billingham defence and won the foot race to put Carlisle within a score of Billingham.

There then followed a nail biting finish as the Carlisle side pressed hard for the winning score and a succession of penalties had the home side gain territory into the Billingham 22. The game then finished on the most bizarre note as with no time left on the clock, Captain Alex Clark put the the ball into touch because…… well we’ll let Alex explain that one.

Billingham were mightily relieved he did however, and in truth it didn’t distract from a game of rugby played by two evenly matched sides, sympathetically referee’d, that was a testament to the efforts of the coaching staff and thoroughly absorbing to watch.

The Carlisle front row worked tirelessly all day, stealing a few against the head, and James Bulman in his gleaming new shorts just edged it for man of the match award.

Carlisle scores by:
Cons: M McCullough 1, A Glendinning 1                           
Drops: T McMann 1                  
Date:            17.3.2012
Kick off time:        2.30pm
Match:            Carlisle v Billingham
Venue:            Carlisle
Won / drawn / lost:    Lost
Result:            12 v 17
Half time score:    5 v 5
Report sent in by:        Bill Glendinning