After three heavy defeats, Carlisle Rugby Club got back to winning ways with a 20-12 home win over Blackburn.

Significant changes had been made on the training field in the week and it was critical these played out on the field, which in the main, they did for a welcome victory.

After only four minutes, Carlisle pushed the visitors deep into their half, and were rewarded with a penalty outside the 22 which was kicked by Grant Connon.

Some solid defensive work by Carlisle kept Blackburn at bay, even though they managed to get close to the Carlisle try-line on a couple of occasions. Connon had another chance to extend the lead as Blackburn infringed in the breakdown outside their 22, but his kick just faded wide of the upright.

Carlisle then lost their captain, Henry Wainwright, to a nasty head injury and he was ably replaced by James Brocket in the back row.

Full-back Max Connon managed to evade the Blackburn defence until he was brought down just a few metres from the try-line. The ball was recycled back to the forwards and, after a couple of phases, player-coach Matt Shields barged over for Carlisle’s first try on the half-hour mark, converted by Connon.

Leading 10-0 at the break, Carlisle got themselves on the scoreboard again on 48 minutes.

Grant Connon managed to squeeze over at the posts, despite close attention from Blackburn defenders.

This seemed to spur a reaction from Blackburn as they pushed Carlisle hard back down the field, with the hosts committing a number of penalties.

With a warning ringing in vice-captain Chris Auld’s ears from the referee about the penalty count, Brocket was deemed guilty of preventing a Blackburn score, and the visitors were awarded a penalty try. Brocket was shown a yellow card.

Blackburn would make good use of the extra man, and despite some graft by the home side to cover for the handicap, the visitors found enough space down the right touchline for their second, but unconverted try, narrowing the scoreline to 17-12 after 65 minutes.

Cards would prove crucial, as within minutes of Brocket returning to the field, with Carlisle making deep inroads down the centre of the park into the Blackburn 22, a high tackle resulted in the visitors losing their number eight.

Connon needed no encouragement to take the three points and put the game more than a score ahead of Blackburn.

Although Blackburn tried hard to breach the Carlisle defence, they simply were unable to get through, and Carlisle saw out the rest of the game to secure a much-needed win and denied Blackburn any points.