Aspatria complete double over Carlisle

Aspatria complete double over Carlisle

Photo: Bill Glendinning

Aspatria completed a Regional 2 North double over Carlisle as they won 45-31 at Warwick Road.

Although not mathematically safe, Aspatria have enough of a lead over fellow Cumbrians Keswick and Carlisle to suggest they will not be dragged into a relegation battle over the past six games.

For Carlisle, their position at the bottom, without a win, is very precarious, although the encouraging thing about the derby was a second successive game with a bonus point of four tries.

Indeed, recent results suggest that under the leadership of coach George Graham they are an improved team.

The revival appears to have come too late to save the City side from relegation, but they do have several games remaining against teams in the bottom half of the table and could still damage others’ hopes.

Carlisle started well enough and after winning a scrum inside the Aspatria half with only a few minutes on the clock, a clumsy tackle gave Jason Israel the opportunity to put three points on the board from 35 metres.

Home advantage lasted just a handful of minutes when, not for the last time in the game, the Aspatria backline tore Carlisle apart.

It was classic movement by Aspatria’s fliers who first attacked down the left flank and then with speed and precision moved the ball across the full width of the field for winger Owen Hoyles to go in at the right corner flag. Jack Clegg converted from the touchline.

The try was the start of a dominant period for Aspatria.

Photo: Bill Glendinning

Two penalties put Aspatria in catch and drive distance and they executed it perfectly with back row Jamie Lightfoot running over for the score.

On 20 minutes, Clegg, operating at scrum-half, had the ball in hand and realized in Carlisle territory that the home side were not defending the right side of the field.

He dropped a perfectly weighted kick into the vacant space and winger Grant Bethwaite had the simple task of picking the ball up in stride for a 17-3 advantage.

A few months ago, Carlisle might have crumbled, but they rallied, winning a penalty in the Aspatria half, which gave them the opportunity for a lineout deep in their area.

Having previously been stopped by Aspatria who was not involved in the lineout, the home side worked out how to overcome it and, driving forward with Alfie Batty and Josh Holmes to the fore, hooker Tom Graham got hold of the ball while the pack bullied. their way across the whitewash.

A slight disagreement then ensued which earned a player from both sides a spell in the bin to cool off.
For the next 10 minutes, neither side could exert much dominance over the other, with some kick tennis not suffering to anyone’s advantage.

Then on 35 minutes a loose ball handling by the visitors was further aggravated by a foul as they tried to win the ball back, Carlisle gave away a five meter lineout down the left.

With Carlisle securing the ball, a number of pick and goes sucked in the visitors to defend now, until the ball was swung wide right for Batty to drop through a couple of defenders for Carlisle’s second try. With Israel converting easily, it was 17-17 with just a few minutes until halftime.

It looked like the game would resume the second half with laurels. To Carlisle’s dismay, they passed the ball to Aspatria in midfield, allowing the visiting backs to get back into their stride.

Photo: Bill Glendinning

Center Ryan Scott covered the initial distance before the ball was released to Hoyles, who cut through the home defensive line and ran deep into the 22 where he unselfishly offloaded for center Joe Beaty to cross and the half with Aspatria 17 -24 to terminate.

Within a few minutes of the restart, Aspatria increased their advantage.

An excellent effort by the visiting pack near the Carlisle line saw Dan Penman go over for a score.

Carlisle gradually worked their way back into the game, helped by the visitors increasing penalties, their third try coming from a 5m lineout down the right.

With the forwards hitting the line, scrumhalf Lung spread the ball wide for Israel to soak up many of the remaining defenders as he headed for the posts. With a scrum just short of the line it was Matt Marston who picked up from behind and dived over the bodies for the points to make it 31-24.

Every time it looked like Carlisle had hope of a first win of the season, it was taken away from them.

On 53 minutes the visitors ended a great break from about halfway through with Scott outpacing the home defense to head into the right corner to restore the lead to 14 points.

The game went a bit flat after that, although Carlisle had a chance from a scrum on the five meter line but coughed up a penalty to allow Aspatria to clear their lines.
Carlisle finally got the fourth try they deserved as another foul by the visitors gave Carlisle another lineout opportunity down the right.

The first was illegally defended by the visitors and the second at the back gave Josh Holmes the chance to run at the defence. With Aspatria again fouled at the breakdown, the referee had no choice but to send Adam Cavanagh to the bin.

The third attempt finally paid off as Lung quickly moved the ball to Israel who put center Ellis Little in for the bonus point to reduce the score to seven points again.

This stirred Aspatria again when they responded with the last and best try of the game.

It was a sweeping move that started on the halfway line which involved a slick pass before Hoyle’s pace outsmarted Carlisle and got him into position to pass the ball to Lightfoot, who brushed aside a couple of ineffective tackles to get under the spotting posts and sealing the victory for Aspatria. .

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