ALTHOUGH Percy Park won with a bonus point, the statistics show that the visitors had far more of the possession.
In an error strewn game, Park maintained pressure on league leaders West Hartlepool, who also won, but it is now looking more likely that the runners up spot and a play off will be the just reward.
Carlisle kicked off on a cold day with a harsh easterly wind, but it was the home side that notched first with a try by flanker Greg Dixon.
Park had won a line out in the visitors half and Ali Blair made a break, but was held up over the line, but from the resulting scrum Park spun the ball right, and after re-cycling from a ruck, Dixon was on hand hugging the touch line to go over in the corner for the score. Smith kicked the difficult conversion.
Ten minutes later, Ali Blair was rewarded for his industrious work looking for the ball.
Park’s top try scorer was given a lovely inside pass by John Scott, but he still had a good deal of work to do to get over the line.
Once again the Park wing was stopped near the line, but his strength allowed him to retain the ball and wrestle it to the ground, shrugging off the Carlisle defenders to score. Again Smith converted the difficult conversion.
Carlisle came straight back and after a good ten minute spell, scored on the right through wing Martin Brodie after a deft pass by Chris Harris put fellow centre Luke Bell through a gap in midfield.
The ball was then shipped to the right winger who went over for the score on 24 minutes, but Grant Connon’s conversion attempt hit the post and stayed out.
Early in the second period the visitors were awarded a penalty which Connon converted. After David Griffiths was penalised for a high tackle, the Carlisle fly half had a further penalty attempt but this time his effort went wide.
Carlisle had several chances to claw back the Park lead, but good defence by the home side kept them at bay. Somewhat against the run of play, Park scored again, this time through man of the match Craig Fidler.
After a good break by scrum half Scott, the ball was chipped through. The Carlisle defence seemed caught in two minds, and instead of clearing the ball into touch, kept the ball alive, and Park regained possession.
Andy Dunn crashed the ball up, but was stopped, but then Fidler picked up driving for the line, and again used his 6ft 7ins frame to stretch for the line to score.
Smith maintained his flawless kicking display and converted to give Park a 21-8 lead.
Park nearly scored again soon after as a clearance kick from Carlisle was charged down and David Griffiths raced towards the ball with no one in front of him, the ball bounced up, but the Park centre knocked on with the line at his mercy, and the visitor’s were relieved to take the scrum and clear their lines.
Throughout the game, Carlisle had more of the ball, but could not make the possession count.
When they were awarded another penalty on 64 minutes, Connon kicked for goal, but the Cumbrians were still going to have to score twice to take the lead.
It was Park who scored next and in doing so secured a valuable bonus point.
Dixon scored on the right wing again, after receiving a well time pass from Smith to race for the line to score. The conversion was missed, but Park had won 26-11.