Carlisle Rugby Club clinched the North One West title with their bonus-point win at Firwood Waterloo.

It’s a fine achievement by the Warwick Road club after dominating the league for most of the season.

Blackburn made them fight a little bit harder than it looked at one stage and, with one game to go, Carlisle hold a five-point advantage.

The champions, who have won more games than Blackburn, should finish on a high too as their final fixture is at home to the bottom side De La Salle tomorrow.

Blackburn put 97 points on them two weeks ago and you can’t imagine them travelling in force and at strength for their final fixture against the champions. They were beaten at home 66-5 by Stockport last Saturday and their relegation had been confirmed weeks ago.

Carlisle made sure of the title with a 31-10 victory at Firwood Waterloo last Saturday, for what must have been a proud moment for player-coach Matt Shields after his first season in charge.

A bonus-point win confirmed the club’s progress to Level Five rugby in North Premier next season.

While it is still mathematically possible for Blackburn to end the season on the same number of points as Carlisle if the city side gain nothing from tomorrow's final game against bottom team De La Salle (which is exceedingly unlikely), they would still have more wins than Blackburn, and so finish top.

Mind you, it was just 10-10 at half-time in Crosby, Liverpool, but Carlisle were able to power clear in the second half.

James Telford scored the try with Grant Connon landing a penalty and conversion, but the hosts had led 10-3 at one stage.

It was coach Shields who fittingly set Carlisle on their way with the opening try early in the second half and they were able to forge clear from there.

Grant Connon and Chris Auld scored the subsequent tries to earn the bonus point which clinched the title a week early.

Penrith’s fate will go down to the wire as they travel to Stockport just two points clear of the third relegation place. Their hosts are only a point better off, so both have every incentive to win the game, and win it well.

To add to the intrigue on the final day Manchester and Firwood Waterloo, the two sides between Penrith and the drop zone, meet in what could be a relegation decider.

A number of permutations are possible but what Penrith must hope for is that there will be no collusion between Manchester and Firwood Waterloo to manufacture a result in both their favours.

Penrith just have to go out there and put it all in to win the game which would confirm their safety.

In actual fact, 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.

On Saturday, they lost 36-22 at home to league runners-up Blackburn.

They had scored an early try through Olly Gutteridge but, by the break, they trailed 17-12 as Ross Jackson grabbed a second try late in the half.

Blackburn scored a try after heavy pressure early in the second half, but then, Penrith got right back into it with tries from Jon Fell and Gutteridge. They had a good spell but couldn’t get over again and two long-range tries by Blackburn in the final 10 minutes meant Penrith didn’t even collect a losing bonus point.

Penrith’s season won’t end tomorrow because, on April 20 at Carlisle’s Warwick Road, they meet Kendal in the final of the Cumbria Cup.

It’s a double whammy for county rugby enthusiasts as the Cumbria League Cup final is also being played on the same day, and also at Warwick Road.

Cockermouth ended a sequence of four defeats against league champions Keswick by beating them 23-8 at Davidson Park to earn their place in the final.

They will meet Aspatria, who saw off a spirited challenge from Upper Eden, scoring seven tries to five in a 41-29 victory at Bower Park.

* Creighton are having an old boys reunion when they play Carlisle Crusaders at home tomorrow with everyone meeting up at 1pm for lunch and a pint, prior to the game which kicks-off at 3pm.

There is a small charge of £3 a head to cover the costs of food and anyone interested should contact Ian Langley on 016973 44900 or the clubhouse on 01228 521169.