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So near yet so far!
A few minutes into this game, set amidst the wealthy southern suburbs of Manchester, it was quickly apparent that Wolves were not going to give away their assets without a fight!
Carlisle travelled with a weakened side due to illness, injury and work committments, but that is not to say that the reshuffled front eight didn’t eventually find their feet, and almost took the game in the last ten minutes.
Wilmslow were determined to build on a home victory the previous week when, after being 5 pts to 22 pts down at the break, they recovered to take the spoils at 31 pts to 22 pts.
From the outset the Carlisle men realised that a battle was ahead of them and for long periods they struggled to cope; starved of possession, they had to cope with an opposing set of backs who were lively, accurate and at times menacing. It took three converted tries before the half hour mark, before the seriousness of the situation dawned on the visitors.
The first serious foray into the home territory six minutes before the break allowed centre Matt Minett in for a try but Glen Weightman couldn’t open his own account.
In some ways the break came too soon, as Carlisle were by then starting to show what they were capable of when they had a share of the ball.
Only the “fly on the wall” will know what was said during the half time team talk, but it must have been pretty emphatic! Carlisle came out fighting, and it was the hosts who had their work cut out to stop meaningful assaults on their line.
Wilmslow seemed stunned by the impetus Carlisle had gained following the break, and starved of the ball, they were put into an almost constant defensive mode to keep as determined attack at bay.
Spending extensive periods threatening to breach the rearguard it allowed pivot Gareth Wylie to get over for a try to the left of the sticks, Weightman improving.
Carlisle kept growing in confidence and on fifty seven minutes winger Martin Brodie was released down the right for the Carlisle third try with Weightman ensuring that at least a losing bonus point would keep Carlisle in 7th league slot!
Despite some inspired attacks Carlisle were not able to improve their lot, although a couple of opportunities on the line were wasted in the closing minutes of the match.
No change in the league placings for Carlisle who must be confident now of retaining their Level 6 status for next season.
Man of the match:
Flanker Bobby Sherlock was the Carlisle star man at Wilmslow. Did more than his own share, and was often to be seen quietly cleaning up for the mistakes of others. Leads by example.
Scorers for Carlisle:
Tries: Matt Minett (1), Gareth Wylie (1) & Martin Brodie (1).
Cons: Glen Weightman (2).
SSE North 1 West League
3rd March 2011
The Carlisle squad:
15 James Rocke
14 Dan Holmes
13 Matt Minett
12 Barry Earl
11 Martin Brodie
10 Glen Weightman
9 Tim Hughes
1 Joe Andferson
2 Stu Graham
3 Tom Graham
4 Mark Barron
5 Callum Rowlandson
6 Andrew Blaney
7 Bobby Sherlock (Capt)
8 Gareth Wylie
16 Paul Halliday (not used)
17 Graham Kidd (not used)
18 Luke Bell (not used)
Next time out: Saturday 10th March at Warwick Road, 3.00 pm v Leigh