Five teams are separated by six points at the top of the Cumbria League at the end of the first half of the season.

It promises to be an exciting climax when we get to the end of April.

Although currently fourth of the five in contention St. Benedict’s have two games in hand of the others and the rejuvenated side will feel they have a chance of returning to near the level they recently occupied.

Workington Town rugby league pro Jamie Doran was among the points in the hard-fought win over Egremont last weekend with a try and some successful conversion and penalty kicks.

Wigton knew it would be hard in the south of the county where they lost 10-7 at Hawcoat Park, falling to a last gasp try.

Matthew Harrison’s try on 48 minutes, converted by Elliott Armstrong had looked to be giving them a 7-5 win – until the hosts scored just before the final whistle.

Clearly coach Andy Brown was disappointed that for a testing trip he wasn’t able to put out his strongest side.

He said: “No doubt the team that travelled to the south of the county will be disappointed with the result, but also by the lack of available players for a game that we knew was going to be hard fought.”

Commitment it seems, across all the sports - it isn’t just rugby union - is nowhere near the level it used to be.

Carlisle couldn’t end 2019 with a win but their game against second-in-the-table Blaydon was the best this season.

Seasoned pundits were waxing lyrical after the 31-26 defeat which was still good enough to earn the city side two bonus points.

It left them ninth of 14 in North Premier, a solid enough start at the higher level and some eight points above the drop zone.

Indeed avoiding relegation should not be an issue in the second-half of the season now they know what all the opposition are like.

Penrith scored a second successive win against relegation candidates when they won 31-12 at Bowdon.

They play the other side in the bottom three, neighbours Keswick when League action resumes on January 4.

This season Penrith first team have relied heavily on their youth section for a core of their side but on Saturday the Colts, who have done so well for them, were all playing for the county side.

This added to a bit of an unavailability crisis and meant head coach David Preston had to be inventive with his selection.

The squad of 18 selected on Thursday was down to 15 by Saturday morning and although Craig Tyson was recruited as a front row replacement the side’s coaches Preston and Rattray were both named on the bench.

It was a strong 15, though, that started the game and they were too strong in the end for relegation threatened Bowdon.

There were plenty of positives but most pleasing was the emergence of 19 year old centre Lewthwaite who looks like being a great find while Dylan Cowperthwaite, 18, is growing into his role as a first team player.

Keswick, however, reach the halfway point at the foot of the table although they deserve a lot of credit for how they stuck at it against leaders Wilmslow before going under 56-8.

Wilmslow had given a good display to show why they are top of the table but the final score does not give due credit to the effort, and refusal to give up, of the Keswick players.

Although the next league game isn’t until January 4 against Penrith, the two clubs will meet twice over the festivities to contest the Mike Firby Trophy. As a result the fixtures are more likely to be between the respective 2nd teams.

Aspatria end 2019 third bottom of North Two West after slipping to a 25-10 defeat at Anselmians.

Aspatria have recorded a meagre three wins.