Carlisle lose in close County Cup final match at a damp Keswick
No fairytale end to the season as Kendal take the spoils
This report is brief. Simply because the pages of my notes are stuck together and the ink has run.
Of all the games we've played this season, it was the wettest.
If you weren't there but in an apparently bone dry Carlisle, it sheeted it down, as it only can do in the Lake District
Thats not an excuse though.
We were beaten by a better side. But not that much better, and not thrashed out of sight by a side a league above us.
We competed, and harried and fought to the end, but small margins determine games, and Kendal were able to convert their chances into points when they could.
We started well, and Carlisle's driving maul caused all sorts of problems for Kendal in the opening exchanges, as it did for most of the game. Our set piece was outstanding, and the travelling faithful were not disappointed by our first scrum as the Kendal pack were shoved unceremoniously backwards at a rate of knots, as it did for much of the game. Scrum half James Telford
took Carlisle into the lead with a penalty opportunity after 5 mins. Kendal then built a lot of posession in the Carlisle half and eventually Chris Park evened the scores from a penalty opportunity after 25mins. Kendal continued to look for ways around or through the Carlisle defence, but were denied at every opportunity, and eventually Carlisle drove them backwards deep into their 22m for the last 5mins of the half. With a succession of penalties in the red zone, Carlisle must have thought there were opportunities for a penalty try as they scrummed their last penalty before the half ended. However the Kendal pack stuck firm. With a series of pick and gos, Carlisle moved the ball closer to the posts, then moved it wide right to exploit the defence out wide. However the half ended 3-3 as the Kendal back grounded the ball in goal before the Carlisle winger could get to it.
Kendal then took the lead 5mins into the second half as a Kendal player was impeded in scoring, and the Lakeland side were awarded a penalty try. Carlisle were defending well, but were caught out at the back as a Weightman kick put replacement fullback Crichton under extreme pressure, and with numbers up quickly, Kendal were able to convert the opportunity into a try in the right corner to take the score to 15-3.
Carlisle were not done by any means though and eventually found territory through a series of penalties,to claim a line out near the Kendal 5m line. From a catch and drive, Carlisle turned the screw on the Kendal defence and eventually second row Rory Parish
drove over for a try converted by James Tellford. With 10mins to go, there was everything to play for, but Carlisle were unable to find many opportunities to breach the Kendal defence and with 3mins to go, Weightman landed the killer blow from a penalty to take the score to 18-10.
Despite the endeavour there was no way back from this, and Kendal took the Cup on a wet and miserable night.
Down but not disheartened.
Plenty of disappointment that we couldn't repeat the feat of last year but there was nothing to be ashamed of the performance last night, and much to look forward for next season.
We make much of the fact this is a young side, and it should be noted that there were 5 Colts in the matchday squad, all pushing hard for a starting place in the side.
The future is bright.
Onwards and Upwards.