Carlisle v Rochdale 21st April

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Carlisle and Rochdale rounded off the league season as they began it, playing each other!  The difference this time though was, that Carlisle had improved, with Rochdale seemingly having regressed!  The city side finished off their league programme with a fine win, but don’t let anyone get carried away with the outcome.  Welcome and deserved as the victory was, Carlisle have played better rugby and lost.

[slidepress gallery=’carlisle-v-rochdale-rfc-21st-april-2012′]
A margin of 17 pts for victory might seem comfortable, but it should and would have been more.  Rochdale looked unlikely for most of the game to breach the Carlisle rearguard, and it was lapses in concentration that allowed Rochdale through for two interception tries at the sticks, thanks to wanton passing by the home side.
The Carlisle pack has been it’s strength throughout the season and they remained the focus of the platform for this deserved victory.
Given the pressure Carlisle exerted in the opening stages of the game, it was surprising that it took so long to get a score on the board.  Keeping ‘dale pinned back was not the hard part, it was the finishing  –  too many wanted to grab the glory, when a pass to a colleague always looked more inviting!   Fly half Glen Weightman opened his account with a penalty on 17 minutes (no doubt with an eye on consolidating his hold on top spot in the league kicking table).
The remainder of the half saw Carlisle grow in confidence.  Weightman collected the ball about 30 yards out during a Carlisle advance, weaved his way through a nonplused defence to touch down at the posts, converting his own try.
The effort consolidated Carlisle’s confidence and they were soon bearing down on their opponents again.  A scrum ten yards out on the right was easily maneouvred over the line for no.8 Lee Brumpton to grab his try, but it went unconverted.
Rochdale had a good spell but the home defence held firm except for a penalty from Bradwell on 31 minutes, before Carlisle sprung into action again with wingman Dan Holmes evading tackles to get through for the first of his two tries.  Weightman slotted the extras for a comfortable lead at the break.
After the turn round, Carlisle were caught napping from the restart, a move that looked full of promise, only to be defused with a careless pas that Tom Andrews intercepted and strode the length of the field to score under the posts.  Bradwell converted.
Down to fourteen men after Brumpton was binned, it did little to diminish the Carlisle thirst for five league points,  nor could the visitors capitalise on their numerical advantage for the next ten minutes.  Indeed, it was during this peiod that Holmes got his second try, touching down in the corner, but the Weightman conversion attempt inched just wide.
Carlisle kept up their assault and had the ‘dale line under heavy pressure, and a maul driven over the line let prop Joe Anderson touch down a try for Weightman to extend his match total.
At 34 pts to 10 it looked comfortable for Carlisle, and they were deserving of their lead, but despite this, yet another careless pass let winger Josh Schofield away for the second interception try (converted) of the afternoon, giving an air of respectability to the visitor’s efforts.
Finishing in 6th place in the league after as fine revival from the poor early season start, is testament to great effort from the lads and the coaching staff.  Yes, foes on the field we may be, but what a shame that both Aspatria and Wigton failed in their efforts to retain level 6 status and provide local derbies again next season.

Carlisle 34 pts Rochdale 17 pts
RFU SSE North 1 West League
Saturday, 21st April 2012
Men of the match:  Dan Holmes and Joe Anderson.
Scorers for Carlisle:
Tries:   Weightman (1), Brumpton (1), Anderson (1) & Holmes (2).
Cons:    Weightman (3)
Pens:    Weightman (1)
The match squad:
15    Matt Tinsley (James Rocke)
14    Martin Brodie
13    Matt Minett
12    Barry Earl
11    Dan Holmes
10    Glen Weightman
9      Tim Hughes
1      Joe Anderson
2      Tom Graham
3      Martin McGimpsey
4      Mark Barron (Stu Graham)
5      Callum Rowlandson
6      Andrew Blaney
7      Bobby Sherlock
8      Lee Brumpton (Gareth Wylie)
16    Gareth Wylie
17    Stu Graham
18    James Rocke