Penrith Rugby Club's North One West season will go to the wire as they failed to put their relegation worries to bed against a strong Blackburn side.

After losing 36-22, they now go to Stockport for the final game on Saturday, needing at least two points to guarantee their Level Six status.

One point would see them almost safe where only a high-scoring draw between Manchester and Waterloo would be able to scupper them. They might even have enough points now but that all depends on the outcome of that Manchester v Waterloo game.

Penrith went all out for the win that would have seen them safe against the promotion-chasing visitors last Saturday and they had an ideal start when winger Olly Gutteridge was alive to a poor pass. As Blackburn went through the phases, he intercepted the ball just into the Blackburn half and sped in under the posts.

The home side then had by far the best of the first quarter as they piled on the pressure but were, at this stage, unable to turn this pressure and possession into points.

Blackburn took an interception on their own line and Penrith had Jon Fell to thank. He was able to get to the runner in the home 22, and he and Ed Swale won the penalty that enabled them to clear their lines.

But it was the visitors who now had the upper hand and, as they turned the screw, Penrith started to concede penalties and it was their turn to be penned back in their own 22.

Eventually, a series of forward drives from a line-out 20 metres out finally breached the Penrith line. After holding out under severe pressure, the home side would have been disappointed to concede a second try almost immediately following some poor tackling on the blindside of a ruck, albeit there was some nifty ball handling.

The visitors continued to go hard at the home side and hooker Craig Price found himself yellow-carded for illegally trying to stem the tide.

Blackburn then moved the ball and some good interplay saw them create space out wide to score in the corner.

It was almost half-time and Penrith were trailing 17-7 and any hopes of getting anything out of the game were diminishing fast. That changed when George Graham tapped and went with a penalty on halfway to reach the visitors’ 22.

Mike Raine then drove to the line and the pack had a couple of pick and goes before Graham released the backs. Stand-off Ross Jackson spotted half a gap and went for it. He looked to have been pulled down well short of the line but managed to keep on his feet and twist his way over and outmuscled defenders a lot bigger than himself.

The deficit was down to five points at the break and hope was renewed but Blackburn came out with all guns blazing at the start of the second half and threatened to blow Penrith away.

The pressure did eventually tell and the visitors managed a try under the posts. The conversion took the lead out to 12 points, and again, things were looking black for the home side.

Blackburn kicked the ball very little throughout the whole game and were building the phases, running the ball out of their own 22 from the restart. 

The ball was spilled in contact and was snapped up by Raine who made ground down the left before releasing the ball to Brad Taylor who drew the last man and put Fell in at the corner.

The restart drop-kick went straight into touch so Penrith had a scrum on the centre spot and classic play by number eight Raine saw him off the back of the scrum at pace. He released Graham and, after a half break, he found Gutteridge on the outside who sprinted into the 22 and stepped inside the cover to score.

In just two plays, the home side were right back in the game and it was their turn to pile on the pressure as they camped on the visitor’s line but could not force the score to go ahead.

They would have 20 minutes in the ascendancy with Blackburn defending deep in their own 22 but, when they did break out, they were clinical and scored a try from long range.

That was as good as it got for the home side. They had chance of a penalty to get within seven points and a losing bonus point but it drifted wide and they conceded another long-range try late on as they attempted to save the game.