Penrith Rugby Club lost 29-24 at Altrincham Kersal in North One West but, without eight frontline players, had finished really strongly to earn a four-try bonus in stoppage time.

Penrith began brightly against a much bigger side, with the forwards on average two to three stones lighter than their opposite numbers and giving them two to three inches in height.

What they lacked in stature they made up for in tenacity, though.

The young Cumbrian side went toe-to-toe with their more experienced opponents and were matching them, but there was no getting away from the size and strength advantage. They scored two early tries before Penrith hit back.

As Kersal pushed up too far, they allowed George Graham to get away.

He took the ball to the 22 before linking with Jay Rossi whose looped pass found Fraser Nicolson out wide before he stepped back inside. Although he was caught by the cover, Hugh Burne was on hand to gather the ball and draw the last man to put Dylan Cowperthwaite in at the corner.

Graham and Craig Price were sin-binned for questioning a refereeing decision, and Penrith had the 10 minutes until half-time to play with 13 men.

Although the hosts immediately scored a third try, Penrith rolled up their sleeves and had much the better of the remaining minutes.

They were unlucky not to score, finishing the half on the home line.

Penrith had to defend stoutly at the start of the second half, but after several near misses and a disallowed try, the home side went over from a five-metre scrum.

The game went into the final quarter and the home pack did look as if they were starting to tire. A dummy run from Olly Gutteridge created the gap, and a little show and go by Rossi put him through to score.

When the visitors lost the ball running it back from the restart, Altricham scored again after two further phases.

With two minutes of real time left, Graham eased Nicolson into a gap. He went over to score and his side trailed by 12 points again.

Penrith were helped by the home side’s ill-discipline as they offended trying to kill the ball and Penrith ran three penalties in quick succession.

A Graham show inside to Gutteridge saw the gap open, and he shot in under the posts to great jubilation.

It wasn’t a win but, after a difficult week, it certainly felt like it.

Keswick, meanwhile, were unable to follow up their first win of the season when they visited Bowdon and went down 36-5.

But Warrington lost 32-7 at home to Stockport and stay below Keswick at the bottom.