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Thursday, 02 October 2014

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Carlisle lose by one point at Anselmians

Carlisle slipped to a disappointing 14-13 defeat at Anselmians in North One West to lose ground on the leaders.

Gary Hewer photo
Gary Hewer

So poor was the Carlisle performance that they did not select a man of the match.

Even coach Gary Hewer expressed his displeasure by declaring afterwards that it had been “the worst performance in Carlisle shirts I’ve ever seen.”

Frustratingly, Carlisle started brightly and claimed the first points, little knowing that by the final whistle the lead would have changed six times.

Carlisle worked the ball out wide from a set piece, and some strong running from winger Dan Holmes led him to crash over the whitewash on the far left. Weightman converted.

This only seemed to provoke Anselmians, who came back with force. Furious pick-and-go plays from the forwards knocked Carlisle back and in attack the visitors were routinely shut down by the home side’s big pack.

Anselmians were also exceptionally gifted at routinely killing the ball off in the ruck un-penalised while Carlisle were penalised a lot for vague reasons.

Unable to secure good, clean ball, Carlisle’s backline misfired, and on several occasions squandered try-scoring opportunities that Anselmians’ relaxed open field defence gifted them.

Twenty minutes in, Anselmians got their first points on the board from a penalty by John Close in front of the posts.

On a couple of occasions, the ball was held up over the Carlisle line and finally they scored an almost identical try to the one Carlisle had scored previously, Anselmians worked the ball out wide to their winger Nathan McHugh who touched down for an unconverted try.

Finally, Carlisle began to force their way down into Anselmians half through some strong running from the backs but every time they were about to cross over the line, something would go wrong.

However, with the last play of the half Carlisle secured a penalty which centre Matthew Minett put over for a 10-8 interval lead.

Carlisle started the second half as poorly as they’d finished it, allowing Anselmians yet more breathing space and failing to play to the referee’s wanton approach to the break down.

Eventually, Carlisle conceded a penalty which John Close easily secured. Relief came on 79 minutes when Carlisle were finally given a penalty in their favour and Minett gave his side the lead at 13-11.

In the final play of the game, Carlisle were awarded a scrum, and many thought the game was done and dusted. The Cumbrians got the shove on in the scrum, but as Anselmians went backwards, the ball went with them.

They crashed the ball up into midfield, where the referee claimed Carlisle’s backline was offside.

Not only this, but the referee marched Carlisle back a further ten metres, for apparently no reason at all.

All Carlisle could do was watch as the penalty was slotted with ease.

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