Hawcoat Park produced a lacklustre performance in Cumbria Division One last Saturday as they suffered a 24-22 defeat at the hands of Carlisle Crusaders.

The Maroon and Whites travelled north in confident mood, following three straight wins, but they were left frustrated by their display in a match that was cut short by a serious injury to one of the home side’s players.

The early exchanges were fairly even as the Carlisle pack ran strongly and with Lee van Haren and Alfie White in particular making good ground for the visitors with ball in hand.

Hawcoat scored the game’s first try after 15 minutes, as props Ben Hughes and Lewis Phillips set the platform before good handling moved the ball out wide for winger Luke Harrison to finish well, Will Coles slotted over a great conversion.

Carlisle then levelled the scoreline against the run of play when a clearance kick landed in space and some hesitation on our part allowed their winger to get his boot to it first to kick on and regather to score under the posts.

The Crusaders took the lead when they booted over a 30-metre penalty and then just before half time they extended their advantage, as their livewire scrum half spotted a gap to dart through and touch down near the posts to make the score 17-7 at the break.

With a stinging gee up from Coaches Jase Meadows and Col Niven, and with 54-year-old Martin Kennedy leading by example out on the park (once again showing that age makes no difference when you are fit) Hawcoat lifted the urgency in their play in the second half.

They had their second try when good work by Rodney Odondi, Jack Shannon and Elliot McDermott led to a great final pass from van Haren finding Harrison, who finished well out wide, with the conversion missed.

Midway through the half, Park levelled the score when Adam Grainger got his hands on the ball last off a line-out drive to force his way over, with the conversion again going wide.

The momentum appeared to be with the visitors, but Carlisle had other ideas as they scored what turned out to be the game’s decisive try when the ball was recycled out wide for their winger to touch down under the posts for a converted try.

In an exciting finish, Hawcoat hit back with five minutes left when van Haren capped a fine performance by forcing his way over, but the missed conversion meant the hosts were still in front.

The game then had to be abandoned in the final few minutes when a Carlisle forward sustained an horrendous dislocated knee, resulting in the ambulance needing to get out onto the pitch.