Carlisle Rugby Club will travel to take on North Premier leaders Billingham this Saturday after a drab 21-15 home defeat to Wirral.

All in all, it was a pretty lifeless first half with neither side dominating, although Carlisle probably could have had a couple of tries with a bit more composure.

Carlisle did, however, go into the changing rooms at half-time with a three-point lead on Saturday through a Grant Connon penalty and having survived a sin-binning.

Four minutes into the second half, a break by Max Connon down the left, drew the last defender to put debutant Welsh winger Ed Harper over in the corner for Carlisle’s first try.

Unfortunately, Carlisle lost that initial momentum, and the visitors had a try of their own in response six minutes later which was converted.

Although Carlisle endeavoured to hit back quickly, as they pushed up into the Wirral 22, flanker Tom Percival received a yellow card for a high tackle.

Being reduced to 14 men proved very costly indeed, as the visitors made good use of the extra player, to run in two tries within four minutes of each other before Carlisle were back up to full strength.

With under 20 minutes to go, Carlisle had probably their best period of the match.

Driving forward, scrum-half James Telford was unlucky not to burrow over the line. A few phases later, though, Wirral were deemed guilty of illegally of preventing a score, resulting in their fly-half receiving a yellow for the last 10 minutes of the game.

Carlisle took a five-metre tap penalty and Telford finally got his just rewards as he dived through a gap in the Wirral defence for a converted try.

With just a few minutes to go, Carlisle collected the restart and flanker Percival made some hard yards into Wirral’s half.

The rest of the side took up the challenge and, soon, Carlisle were camped inside the Wirral 22, knowing that the game ended when the ball went dead.

Despite going through numerous phases and a couple of penalties, Carlisle were unable to breach the visitors defence, although it was starting to creak.

An opportunity to go wide was spotted, but the ball went behind the Carlisle winger and Wirral collected to kick the ball dead to their obvious relief.