Carlisle 29 St Benedict's 13

On a sunny May evening, Carlisle beat St Benedict’s to become this season’s Cumbria Cup winners.

David Stout’s Carlisle team had already won the North Lancs Cumbria title this term and backed up their league win with this cup triumph.

But events on the pitch were somewhat overshadowed by a serious-looking leg injury to St Benedict’s Scott Wood on the stroke of half-time, which brought about an extended half-time interval of more than half an hour.

The first attacking move of the game was created by Carlisle but, after a number of plays, St Benedict’s had the chance to clear their lines and eventually did after their early scare.

Carlisle continued to push forward in the first few minutes and continued to dominate possession, although were still held by St Benedict’s defence.

Carlisle finally bundled the ball over the tryline to open the scoring in the 13th minute. James Telford hit the post with a difficult kick from the right as he attempted to add the extras, but the Warwick Road outfit were now in front.

Four minutes later, St Benedict’s struck back with a penalty through the boot of Steven Wood to make it 5-3.

Telford had the opportunity to restore Carlisle’s five-point advantage on 22 minutes, although his effort fell wide of the St Benedict’s post.

Then, against the run of play, Steven Wood converted St Benedict’s second penalty of the afternoon at Bower Park.

A brief scrap then broke out on the 26th minute as tempers began to rise during the final.

Again, Carlisle looked to push towards the St Benedict’s tryline on the half hour mark, although they were again thwarted by the well-organised defence the Mirehouse side had assembled.

St Benedict’s had the chance to kick for the corner on the 33rd minute. But Carlisle’s Rory Parish did well to keep alive the ball and boot forward to gain crucial yards for the east Cumbrian team.

As the half drew to a close, it was St Benedict’s that were in the ascendancy. A quick-tap from a penalty saw the Mirehouse side find space out wide, although it was now Carlisle’s turn to provide resolute defending.

And St Benedict’s held on to their very slender one-point lead until the half-time whistle as they looked to follow in the footsteps of Millom, Workington, Aspatria, Keswick, Egremont, Wigton and Penrith in winning the Cumbria Cup for a third time in a row.

But Carlisle had certainly showed they were capable of holding their own against the North One West outfit, having had the better of the early exchanges. And they remained very much in the game at the break with the half ending with St Benedict’s Scott Wood’s injury.

As a result, the main focus of attention for the healthy crowd – and the medical team – was the injury to Scott Wood during the half-time interval, which lasted much longer than planned, with an ambulance coming on to the pitch.

After the enforced break, Carlisle retook the lead with a Robbie James try. The conversion was again missed wide of the post.

Whitehaven side St Benedict’s could have almost immediately brought Carlisle’s lead back to a point but missed a penalty.

And the Warwick Road outfit moved 15-6 ahead with 49 minutes on the clock when Guy Graham powered through to find the tryline. This time, Telford did slot through the post to open the lead up to a clear 11 points.

Stout, Carlisle’s head coach, said before the game he felt this contest would give a good indication of where his team were at and they were well in the match. But, as they threatened to pull clear, Kyle Hiddleston broke through to latch on to a kick 13 minutes into the second half, with St Benedict’s moving back to within four points.

Around the hour mark, Telford was left with the simplest of kicks to open the Warwick Road team’s lead to 20-13. Telford then added another penalty through the post to open up Carlisle’s lead further.

The Carlisle kicker added three more points to his, and his team’s tally, as they took a 26-13 lead – edging towards their first Cumbria Cup success in over 50 years.

There was still time for Telford to put another penalty through the posts.

And Carlisle’s Cumbria Cup victory was confirmed at just past 9.30pm after the substantial delay to the 7.15pm kick-off, not that the players seemed to mind too much.