Carlisle 19 Liverpool St Helens 10

St Helens Star: Carlisle 19 Liverpool St Helens 10 Carlisle 19 Liverpool St Helens 10

Liverpool St Helens got bogged down in the mud in this crucial North One West encounter at Carlisle. The home side adapted to the barely playable conditions much the better and eventually ran, or rather trudged, out worthy winners.

The hosts dominated the set pieces throughout and with both sets of backs running as if in quicksand, only a staunch and spirited effort from the Moss Laners in the last thirty minutes prevented the margin of victory being much greater.

Carlisle made the better start going close twice in the first ten minutes with only quick work from Ian Stanley and then Dave Cunliffe preventing them scoring. They had already gone ahead after four minutes when Glen Weightman kicked a penalty as a result of LSH being offside. (3-0).

Then in the 11th minute Greg Smith manufactured a try out of nothing. Deep in his own half he jinked around the Carlisle back line outpaced his pursuers and passed to Jake Hodson in space on the wing. The right winger rounded his opposite number and raced the remaining 30 metres to score. Smith converted. (3-7).

As the game progressed the heavier Carlisle pack began to assert and only sterling work at the base of the scrum and at the break down from scrum half Rob Dyer, assisted by the relentless efforts of Phil Kearns, was keeping LSH in the game. Lack of success at the lineout did not help and Carlisle reduced the arrears with another Weightman penalty after 19 minutes. (6-7). The home sides’ pressure eventually told with a try from a catch and drive after 35 minutes putting them in the lead at half time. (11-7).

A penalty soon after the break from Greg Smith (11-10) narrowed the gap but was immediately followed by Carlisle’s second try scored by Paul Halliday after a break from midfield. (16-10). Weightman then added another penalty (19-10) after 49 minutes.

And that’s how the score stayed for the remaining 31 minutes as Carlisle had most of the possession and territory but a fighting rear-guard display from LSH and the difficult underfoot conditions led to no reward. Dave Westhead unloaded the bench sending on prop Jack Weaver, top club man Alan Donlevy and young colt Paddy Royle.

Then a patient LSH got two chances in the last five minutes. Firstly Greg Smith tried to kick a penalty just over 40 yards out.

Unfortunately the ball, now resembling one of those brown heavy objects from the 1960s, failed to make the distance and secondly, in the last play of the game Dan Filson came extremely close with a kick through and chase in the left hand corner.

Next match Sat 1 March LSH v Kendal at Moss Lane KO 3pm

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