Blackburn 14

Carlisle 28

DINO Radice said his side ‘will not beat themselves up’ after their recent run of defeats and will aim bounce back - starting with Saturday’s Lancashire Cup semi final against Burnage.

The Ramsgreave Drive side have suffered three successive defeats, the latest against North One West leaders Carlisle last weekend - but it was a much improved performance on the losses to Stockport and Birkenhead Park in the two previous matches.

Radice said he always knew it was going to be a tough test against three of the top four teams in the division and so it proved.

The run of defeats has seen Blackburn slip from second in the table to ninth and Radice is looking to stop the rot against Burnage in the cup on Saturday.

“The run of results show we are not quite where we want to be or possibly where we thought we were,” said Radice. “Going in to this run of games I really thought two wins out of three would have been a good return but we lost all three.

“But we have not done ourselves justice or played to our potential.

“We were poor against Birkenhead Park, probably played the worst rugby we have played against Stockport but were much improved against Carlisle where we gave the leaders a game.

“So while we are disappointed, the players are not going to beat themselves up and we will look to bounce back.”

Carlisle arrived at Ramsgreave Drive top of the table and left the same, however Burn didn’t allow them to have it all their own way and will feel unlucky not to have got something from the game.

From the start Carlisle built pressure but Burn’s defence held up well and restricted their opponents to just a penalty from 35 metres out on 11 minutes.

Carlisle continued to look dangerous but Burn’s hard-working defence continued to blunt their attacks.

The home sides’ resilience was rewarded on 29 minutes as they scored the opening try of the game.

Blackburn had made their way into the visitors’ half after a barging run by Corey Logan broke the first line of defence. The ball was recycled and fed to Jack Swarbrick who broke the Cumbrian side’s defence before passing back inside to Jamie Brookes who ran on to score under the posts. Leon Fifield added the extra points.

On 36 minutes Carlisle hit back with their own try and conversion before extending their lead with another penalty to lead 13-7 at the break.

At the start of the second half, the leaders were putting the pressure on their hosts but yet again the Burn defence held strong - although Carlisle did kick another penalty on 46 minutes.

Blackburn hit back and came close to a try on 58 minutes.

First, Logan broke through, then Sam Gale made further yards, Burn continued to retain possession and in the end were stopped just short of the try line.

But the momentum had been halted illegally and a Carlisle man was shown the yellow card.

Burn elected to take a scrum and went blind with the ball eventually moved wide where Brookes went over for his second try.

The conversion was superbly converted by Fifield to make the score 14-16.

On 65 minutes Carlisle hit back. After kicking a penalty to the corner, their initial catch and drive stalled but they went again to score. The conversion was added and Carlisle led 23-14.

A fourth try arrived seven minutes from time when Blackburn tried to run the ball from deep but Josh Reilly was tackled on the edge of the 22 and, as he placed the ball back, support was slow in arriving and Carlisle picked up to score.

Radice will now turn his attentions to the county cup and Saturday’s trip to Burnage.

And rather than it being a distraction from the league, the coach says this is a chance to Blackburn to win some silverware.

“The Lancashire Cup is very important and we are in a semi final with a great chance of winning some silverware,” said Radice who is without the injured pair of George Skofic and Frank Nickon while influential back, Fifield has changed jobs so his availability for the tie is uncertain.

“We have had a good chat about these games and have sat down and watched the videos of the matches.

“So we know what we are doing wrong and where we can improve.

“So now we will be looking to bounce back.”