Carlisle Rugby Club look to put opening-day defeat behind them when they play host to county rivals St Benedict's

Driving over: Adam Howe scores for Penrith against Cleckheaton (Photo: David Nattrass)
Driving over: Adam Howe scores for Penrith against Cleckheaton (Photo: David Nattrass)

Carlisle Rugby Club will hope to put their opening-day defeat at Wilmslow behind them when they play their first home game tomorrow.

The City side didn’t get the start they wanted in North One West when they lost 34-18 in Cheshire.

But they will look to get the first points on the league ladder tomorrow at home to county rivals St Benedict’s.

The Whitehaven side lost their opening game at home to Manchester, going down 28-12.

But it was a depleted Saints’ side as injuries have been carried over from last season, while a wedding and work commitments took away several other players.

They don’t expect to be any stronger for the relatively short trip to Carlisle but are looking to be back with a near-full complement by the end of the month.

After the defeat at Wilmslow, Carlisle head coach David Stout said: “This was going to be a tough start for us and, at 19-18 well into the second half, the game was there for the taking.

“But a couple of decisions cost us in a good game of rugby.

“Despite the loss, I was pleased with our general performance against a very good side who will certainly compete for promotion.

“Our young team will have to learn and adapt quickly to the faster pace and physicality that are required at this level, which I have no doubt they will.”

The try-scorers for Carlisle were Andy Glendinning and Max Connon, the latter adding two penalties and a conversion.

In North One East, Penrith opened with a good 38-20 home win over Cleckheaton.

Penrith were more than happy with the performance and the result against a useful Cleckheaton side who were playing National League rugby last season.

The coaching staff would have been happier if they had not conceded two late tries. But it was a very good performance for the first competitive game.

A great deal of credit went to Andrew Holcroft who was hauled out of the second team changing room just seconds before the game as Phil Gardham badly turned his ankle in the warm-up and couldn’t continue.

Holcroft did not look out of place and could well have topped the Penrith tackle count. It was also testament to the home side’s youth policy, as four of the six try scorers were aged 19, 22, 18 and 18 respectively.

Those six try-scorers were Olly Gutteridge, Ryan Johnson, George Graham, Dan Richardson, Adam Howe and Matthew Boustead.

Tomorrow, Penrith have another home fixture against Alnwick who opened their programme with a 16-16 home draw with Morpeth.

North Lancs Cumbria kicked-off with an old-fashioned derby clash between two of the county’s oldest rivals – Wigton and Aspatria.

The Lowmoor Road crowd was treated to a thriller which ended 27-26 in favour of the home side.

That single point was enough to give the home side all five points with Aspatria collecting two; a losing point and also a try bonus.

Both sides experienced disruption going into the game as Wigton were without influential players, Ledingham, Hanabury and Smith, who are all long-term injury worries, while Aspatria’s back line lacked the familiar faces of Akehurst, Vickers and Tinnion due to personal commitments.

Aspatria enjoyed the lion’s share of possession throughout the game and, with control being exerted at both scrum and line-out, the outcome of the game would have been entirely different but for Wigton’s magnificent defensive effort and an ability to make the most of the few scoring opportunities that came their way.

In an action-packed game, which contained more drama than the complete works of Shakespeare, the result was in doubt until the final whistle.

Wigton handicapped themselves with their poor kicking and the number of penalties they conceded. However, the fact that they still managed to come away with the win speaks volumes for the character shown by the side on the day.

Given the pattern of recent matches between the two sides, few neutrals would begrudge Wigton being the beneficiaries of a little bit of luck.

Wigton, who led 24-7 at the break, scored tries through Jay Henderson, Arron Henderson (2) and Richard Moffat.

Aspatria responded with tries from Guy Reed, Matthew Atkinson, Gary Hodgson and James Ravell.

Tomorrow, Aspatria play their first home game against a Bolton side who are expected to figure prominently in the promotion race. They had opened with a 70-19 home win over Trafford.

Wigton will travel to De La Salle in Salford and they opened the season in Cumbria, playing-out a 24-24 draw at Keswick.

Newly-promoted Keswick shared an eight-try thriller which kept the large and enthusiastic crowd enthralled until the final whistle.

De La Salle had pipped Aspatria to the runners-up slot but lost the promotion play-off game so Keswick knew it would be a tough baptism.

They acquitted themselves well to lead 12-0 at half-time with tries from Ryan Weir and skipper Aaron Thompson.

A third try for Andy Weir, which he converted, put Keswick in the driving seat at 19-0 but De La Salle are resilient opponents. They scored two tries, one converted, to make it 19-12 and it was game on.

But 10 minutes from time, Thompson scored his second try and Keswick seemed to have done enough.

Keswick had a man yellow-carded and it was all hands to the pump. The visitors scored again, but crucially missed the conversion.

With the final play of the game, De La Salle drove over for their fourth try and a bonus point. This time, the kicker took his time and converted successfully to draw the game. It was honours even and three points for each team.

Tomorrow, Keswick travel to Oldham who had opened on Saturday with an excellent 31-8 win at Fleetwood.

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