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On a sunny and calm April day Penrith met Carlisle at under 15 for the third consecutive year.
With honours even at one victory a piece, the early exchanges between the teams looked promising as both Carlisle and Penrith looked to move the ball around the pitch.
An early break by the Penrith winger from a quick counter attack was one of the early stand out moments but a stubborn Carlisle defence halted the progress. A Penrith injury 15 mins in to the game provided a welcome water break for both sets of players as the first quarter had been all action.
The high pressure Carlisle defence lead to much turnover ball and consequently good field position for the city based club. Penrith however were not to be outdone turning over ball around the tackle area themselves and using it effectively to gain yards. The vast expanse of Penrith was fully exploited by both sets of players and every blade of grass utilised.
Eventually after a bout of pressure from Penrith a try was forced by Ned Swift on the 19 minute mark, this was successfully converted to give a slender 7-0 advantage. On 23 minutes Penrith had a further opportunity to extend their lead through a penalty but the kick was pushed wide of the posts. Good service from the Carlisle scrum half Vince Lung gave the visitors plenty of front foot attacking ball offering opportunities to attack but the main tactic was to get the ball to their wingers as early as possible.
The Carlisle boys did this on 28 minutes when the ball was spun wide and they breached the Penrith line for an excellent score by Elliott Baines. James Spencer’s conversion took the game to 7-7 and the excitement ensued. Carlisle spurred on by their try looked very threatening spinning the ball wide at every opportunity but the Penrith cover defence denied them on a number of occasions.
Referee Ciaron Trainer blew the half time whistle which provided a welcome break for both teams! With the game firmly in the balance at 7 all the second half was eagerly awaited by the growing crowd. 2 minutes into the second half Penrith were awarded another penalty but again the attempt drifted wide of the uprights.
A break by the Penrith number eight Bradley Quail 6 mins into the second half led to great yards for the Eden Valley team but support was not there in time to provide continuity and complete the movement. After managing to secure some possession 9 minutes into the second half Carlisle’s swift movement in the back line spun the ball to their powerful right winger, Sam Windess for a converted score taking the game to 14-7 in their favour.
Throughout the game the strong Penrith pack worked hard for possession but Carlisle just secured enough to release their backs who caused damage in behind the gain line. A quality finish to the game built with both sides creating opportunities in the closing quarter and the crowd were genuinely on the edge of their seats as the game could have gone either way. Penrith had a succession of penalties in the Carlisle 22 following some indiscipline by the city side.
After a quick tap penalty by Penrith 31 minutes into second half, there was an injury to Penrith’s scrum half Richard Addison but after some attention he was up and running in no time. The restart by Carlisle from a scrum failed to hit touch from the clearance kick giving Penrith a chance for one final assault. Carlisle forced a turnover and cleared their lines which resulted in the ball going into touch and the whistle blowing for full time, Carlisle winning a thrilling game 14-7.
Presentations were made by Liam Nicholls (RDO Cumbria), Roger Hackney (RFU Council Rep for Cumbria) & Geoff Jackson (Cumbria RU).
Carlisle scores by:
Tries: Elliott Baines, Sam Windess
Cons: James Spencer x 2
Date: 22nd April 2012
Kick off time: 11.00am
Match: Penrith RFC v Carlisle
Won / drawn / lost: Won
Result: 7 v 14
Half time score: 7 v 7
Report sent in by: Peter Fulton