Carlisle Crusaders 24 Hawcoat Park 22
Saturday 18th January 2020
Following a flat lacklustre performance from the maroon and whites Carlisle deservedly came out on top to earn a good win.The early exchanges were fairly even as the Carlisle pack ran strongly,and with Lee Van Haren and Alfie White in particular making good ground for us with ball in hand.
15mins into the half we scored the first try.New to the first team props Ben Hughes and Lewis Phillips were having good games and set the platform running strongly before good handling moved the ball out wide for winger Luke Harrison to finish well,Will Coles slotted over a great conversion 0-7.
At this point we had a control over the game however the Carlisle defensive efforts across the whole pitch remained strong and a little against the run of play levelled up the scoreline.A clearance kick landed in space and some hesitation on our part allowed their winger to get his boot to it first to kick on and regather to score under the posts.7-7.
This score clearly lifted the Carlisle spirits and a clear confidence was seen in their play for the remainder of the first half as our option taking and play execution deteriorated.30 mins into the half Carlisle took the lead when they booted over a 30 metre penalty goal and then just before half time further extended their advantage.After attacking our line for a sustained spell our defence had to be strong with Andy Kent and Alfie White leading from the front. However their livewire scrum half spotted a gap to dart through and touch down near the posts.The try was converted. Half time 17-7
With a stinging gee up from Coaches Jase Meadows and Col Niven at half time and from 54 year old Martin Kennedy by example out on the park (once again showing that age makes no difference when you are fit) we lifted the urgency in our play but fair play to Carlisle who were committed with their determined defence throughout.Winger Luke Harrison was pulled back on a couple of occasions for forward passes but was looking dangerous everytime he had ball in hand.10mins he scored his and our second try.Following good work by Rodney Odondi and then Jack Shannon and Elliot McDermott and then a great final pass from Lee Van Haren,Harrison finished well out wide.The conversion just missed 17-12.
Mid way through the half we levelled the score.The forward took it upon themselves.Martin Kennedy took a clean line out ball just inside the Carlisle 22 John Donnan and replacement Mike Gibson were quickly in support with the remaining members of the pack.Adam Grainger operating in the back row got his hands on the ball last to force his way over out wide.The difficult conversion was missed.17- 17.
The momentum appeared to be with us but Carlisle had other ideas they regrouped and stuck togther as a team.Mid way into the half they scored the decisive try.We were on the attack in the Carlisle half when their fly half intercepted, Elliot McDermott playing his last game for the Club before relocating “down south” and will be missed did well to get back to make the covering last ditch tackle.However the ball was recycled out wide for their winger to touch down under the posts for a converted try 24- 17.In an exciting finish we came back to attack the Carlisle line and 5mins before the end scored another try.Following good work by the returning Rory Sayle, Lee Van Haren capped a fine performance by forcing his way over.The difficult conversion was missed.
The game had to be abandoned in the final few minutes when a Carlisle forward sustained an horrendous dislocated knee resulting in the ambulance needing to get out onto the pitch.Final Score 24-22.
Fly half George Smith had to cry off late to go offshore and in his absence the fluency in our play of late was lacking however well done to Carlisle who deserved the 4 points for the win. We get two points for a losing bonus and four trys but more importantly on the day all at Hawcoat Park extend our best wishes to the injured Carlisle lad for his recovery.
Hawcoat Park RU