Carlisle Rugby Club's away form has given early cause for concern after their promotion to North Premier.

In the last two trips out of the city, they have conceded seven tries in each, shipping more than 40 points on both occasions.

Yet on Saturday, at Sandal, they scored 31 themselves which, on numerous occasions, would have been good enough to bring some points back with them.

They face another tough test tomorrow, too, as again they have to travel, this time into Cheshire to take on fourth-placed Macclesfield.

Last week, Macclesfield were unlucky 18-13 losers at second-in-the-table Harrogate, so Carlisle can expect a stiff challenge.

It’s the defensive issues which will concern coach Matt Shields, and the way they started at Sandal. They went behind on only four minutes.

The fact that a second try followed two minutes later from an interception meant Carlisle were up against it from the start. They did pull back three points from a Grant Connon penalty, but a yellow card for skipper Henry Wainwright proved crucial.

Two more Sandal tries quickly followed and it was to Carlisle’s credit that they came back before half-time to score tries through Chris Auld and Ben Purdham, both converted by Connon.

In the second half, Carlisle forced a scrum on the Sandal 10-metre line and had the home pack going backwards at a rate of knots. To the disbelief of the Carlisle forwards, Sandal were awarded a penalty which proved a game changer.

The hosts then scored two quick tries to go 40- 17 in front and, although Dan Holmes went over for Carlisle, Sandal’s seventh try killed it off. The only consolation was a late try from Steve Benson which earned Carlisle a bonus point.

In North One West, Penrith lost top spot when they went down 34-20 at Broughton Park and slip to second, but only a point behind new leaders Wilmslow.

Tomorrow, Penrith entertain Douglas from the Isle of Man who are in sixth, six points behind and fresh from a 31-0 home win over Stockport last week.

The trip to Broughton Park was the first time in five games that Penrith had played outside the county and the defeat hinged on a wretched start.

It was back to last season’s poor away trip fare for a while, not helped by having to make nine changes, four of them positional.

A last-minute cry-off also meant head coach David Preston had to start the game, extending his illustrious playing career into yet another season.

At the end of the first quarter, the home side had scored three unanswered tries and led by 17 points. Captain Ed Swale did get them going with a try but more disaster followed when they conceded another soft try.

However, they got to half-time only trailing 24-15 as Fraser Nicolson and Jay Rossi scored two more unconverted tries. When Craig Price got over soon after the restart, it was game on.

The home side kicked a penalty to lead by seven points which would still have left Penrith with two bonus points, but it was down to one when the hosts scored a fifth try near the end.

Keswick are still looking for their first points after a 43-5 defeat at Vale of Lune. Ryan Weir scored the try.

This was not the defeat that the score suggests, with 17 of Vale’s points coming from kicking errors by Keswick and more than half of their points coming in the first 20 minutes.

While still firmly on the bottom of the table, Keswick officials believe it's only a matter of time before they register their first points.

Being promoted to Level six is a challenge and the rugby at this level is faster than Keswick have been used to with the opposition generally more experienced. However, the rugby is exciting to watch and the players are enjoying the opportunity to compete at this higher level.

Tomorrow, Keswick entertain Birkenhead Park, currently third in the league, at Davidson Park, hoping it provides the home side with a bit more bite.

In North Two West, Aspatria had to settle for a losing bonus point as they went down 31-24 at home to leaders Glossop.

Jack Clegg converted a last-gasp try from Graham Andrews to earn them a hard-earned point.

In a game of high quality, but at times an ill-tempered affair, the teams shared six tries but timely penalties always seemed to keep the visitors out of reach and that proved to be the crucial difference. Patrick Nouch and Clegg scored the other Aspatria tries against a Glossop side who bossed the game for lengthy spells.

Two of the four unbeaten teams in the Cumbria League square up to each other tomorrow in what promises to be quite a confrontation.

Cockermouth lead the way with five wins from as many games and five bonus points, and visitors are third, six points in arrears but have only played four games and with just three bonus points from their maximum victories.

Hawcoat Park, who have won three out of three, entertain Upper Eden beaten only by Whitehaven and Cockermouth.

Second-placed Wigton entertain Carlisle Crusaders while the other games are Workington v Silloth; St Benedict’s v Windermere; Furness v Creighton and Millom v Egremont.