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The visit of the city side to Sandbach coincided with the presentation of the league championship trophy. The runaway leaders had two games (including Carlisle) still be play!
A large crowd had turned up, presumably in expectation of the icing being put on the cake! They would be disappointed though, because the much changed Carlisle side dominated the early exchanges and ought to have produced a few scores, but the failure to convert pressure in to points let Sandbach off the hook.
The best chance of the half fell to winger Dan Holmes, but his strong run was halted as he was about to cross in the corner.
Although the speedy and elusive home backs shifted the ball well through their repertoire of moves, especially orchestrated by their player coach, Simon Verbickas, the Carlisle defence held them comfortably at bay.. Sandbach collected their points from penalties awarded for Carlisle indiscretions and converted three of them to give them a marginal lead of 9 pts to 7 pts at the break. But Carlisle shocked the home side with a superb driving maul that they could only stem by illegal methods, and the referee did not hesitate to award a penalty try. Glen Weightman added the extras.
Early in the second period a Weightman penalty looked to have put Carlisle ahead, but the long range effort faded away just inches wide. As the half progressed it was looking as though the defences would cancel each other out, but then against the run of play Sandbach managed to shift the ball to the left allowing their speedy winger, Clive Davenport. Actually, it gave him a lot to do, but then he was given a fairly free run to cross the line because of uncharacteristically weak Carlisle tackling. Home confidence was boosted and they managed to dominate the last ten minutes with a brace of tries, the lads from Verbickas, as two Carlisle players lay injured!!
For long periods Carlisle dominated this interesting encounter, but lack of concentration resulted in them gaining them ceding the ball to the opposition on too many occasions, letting Sandbach off the rack. Nevertheless, the city side were still fighting hard come the final whistle with the score not being a true reflection of their contribution to the game.
Sandbach 28 pts Carlisle 10 pts
RFU SSE North 1 West League
Saturday, 14th April 2012
Scorers for Carlisle
Penalty try: 1
Conversions: Glen Weightman (1)
Penalties: Glen Weightman (1)
The Carlisle squad:
15 Matt Tinsley
14 Matty Little
13 Matt Minett
12 Barry Earl
11 Dan Holmes
10 Glen Weightman
9 Tim Hughes
1 Joe Anderson
2 Stu Graham
3 Tom Graham
4 Paul Halliday
5 Callum Rowlandson
6 Mark Barron (Capt)
7 Tom McCullough
8 Gareth Wylie
15 Gary Wiles
16 Luke Bell
18 Jimmy Riddle
The last league match of the season is at Warwick Road on 21st April, 3.00 pm. A win over Rochdale will see us finish in 6th slot, which has to be a great outcome from a season that started in such poor fashion.
The final of the Cumbria Cup is scheduled for 5th May v Penrith at Workington, although this has not yet been confirmed. Why? – we don’t really know.