DESPITE several injuries in the backs, Wirral were able to achieve a hard fought bonus point away win at Carlisle and just about finish with 15 men, some limping, writes Richard McNeil.

It was Carlisle who took the lead after eight minutes with a penalty.

Wirral hit back with their first spell of possession and possibly their best plays of the game with two converted tries in 10 minutes through Colin Dyer and Phil Donaldson; both converted by Craig Harvey.

Carlisle came back into the game aided by a string of penalties but the normally reliable Carlisle goal kicker had an off day and only converted one before halftime to leave the score 6-14 at the interval. At this stage, fly half and captain, Craig Harvey had left the field injured.

Carlisle played with more determination in the second half and reduced the deficit to one point with a converted try.

With only a limited amount of possession Wirral were struggling to make an impact but in the next 15 minutes fortunes changed as they ran in three tries through Phil Donaldson, Sam Edgar and Julian Haigh, two of which were converted by Sam Broadbent to establish a 13-33 lead.

By this time the backs had been decimated with two further injuries, one of which is serious, and substitute forwards were now playing in the backs to make up the numbers.

In the final seven minutes, Carlisle ran in two tries to leave the final score at 25-33.

Wirral remain top of the table by one point over Birkenhead Park and stretched their lead to three points over third placed Widnes.


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