Maybe it’s been too comfortable for Carlisle Rugby Club in their opening two games after promotion from North One West.

Certainly the coach, players and officials expected it to be tougher than what has been early doors.

But on Saturday, it really was a case of “Welcome to North Premier” as Matt Shields’ men were soundly beaten 43-7 at Kirkby Lonsdale.

The home side had lost their first two games this season but soaked up anything Carlisle could throw at them, and found plenty of opportunities to break through the city side’s defence.

It was a cagey opening for the first 20 minutes, as both sides looked to create opportunities but handling errors disrupted the flow of attacks.

Carlisle were starting to get on the wrong side of the referee and the hosts were making the most of the opportunities to gain territorial position.

A five-metre line-out, catch and drive gave lock Gareth Gore the chance to cross for a try, converted by Ben Walker.

After a long-range penalty attempt clattered off the post, a tackle by Grant Connon was adjudged high, and the Carlisle fly-half spent the rest of the half on the bench.

Down to 14 men, Carlisle defended well, yet all the good work was undone as their next attack was stopped by a penalty infringement.

When a box kick from Carlisle was collected by Kirkby Lonsdale winger Harry Huddleston, he weaved his way through the visitor’s defence, offloading to flanker Stuart Storey for Kirkby’s second try at the end of the half.

Three minutes into the second half, Kirkby struck a killer blow.

As Carlisle were pressing up towards the hosts 22m, centre Scott Armstrong intercepted a wide pass to race the length of the field for a converted try.

They followed this up with their bonus-point try four minutes later as a kick return by Kirkby was not fielded well by Carlisle.

That gave Huddleston the opportunity to tear down the wing for an unconverted try. Kirkby increased their lead again on 65 minutes after a five-metre line-out play was capitalised upon by Matthew Kay.

Kirkby were dominating the game at this stage and former Northampton player Armstrong was dangerous in attack, creating space down the right for winger Andrew Bargh to go under the posts.

Although Grant Connon finally found a way through the Kirkby defence for Carlisle’s only score, it was too little too late, and Kirkby rounded off the day with their seventh try to complete a comprehensive victory.