Saturday 1st December
Carlisle Crusaders 7 -
For the first time in almost two years Furness set off for a tough looking fixture at Carlisle with a full complement of eighteen players. A slight navigational error meant the team bus arrived with only thirty minutes to spare. On a perfect day for rugby and on an excellent playing surface the game started at a furious pace. Carlisle looked a very well drilled side with a very useful number 10 and it was only dogged defending by Furness that kept them out. Furness struggled to get their hands on the ball in the first twenty minutes and when they did, struggled to retain possession. There were signs however that with more ball they could do some damage and so it proved after 35 minutes when scrum half Sam Dutton with his first touch of the ball went over for a try from short range. Adam Jackson's conversion gave Furness a seven point lead as half time approached.
Furness started the second half as they'd finished the first and it wasn't long before their lead was increased to ten points when Jackson slotted an easy penalty from fifteen metres out. Carlisle were finding Furness's no nonsense tackling hard to cope with and their previously well drilled approach began to unravel with a number of knock ons and dropped balls. It was therefore somewhat against the run of play when a loose clearance allowed the Carlisle left winger to chip over the Furness defence, gather his own kick and score under the posts. The easy conversion reduced the Furness lead to three points. Order was restored almost immediately when from a line out five metres from the Carlisle line Joe Mallinson burst through the line to take the Carlisle tap down. Jackson's conversion from out wide put Furness ten points ahead once more. It was pretty much all Furness after that and it was no surprise when Jackson went over for a well deserved try following a clever kick through. Another successful conversion made the final score Carlisle 7 Furness 24.
This was probably Furness's best performance of the season and shows what can be done with a full squad. The team's defence was tremendous throughout and they showed imagination in attack. It would be hard and possibly unfair to select a man of the match but Dave Gilmour in the centre had a fine game. A word of thanks to the referee Mike Pate who who controlled proceedings well throughout. Finally, a mention for the visiting teams linesman who gave a textbook display of lines manning whilst wearing inappropriate footwear!