Carlisle know there is work to be done over the second half of the season but will be reasonably confident of maintaining their North Premier status.

Going up as North One West champions, the city side knew it would be a challenge contesting the higher level, but the first half of the season has given them encouragement.

They lie ninth of 14, some eight points above the relegation zone and with enough gleaned on their opponents to believe that they can improve on their five wins over the second-half of the season.

A win against promotion hopefuls Harrogate, and a pulsating 31-26 defeat by second-in-the-table Blaydon, was an indication that they can mix it with the best.

The problems have been all too clear - giving away far too many penalties, and a spate of yellow cards has seen them short of the full complement of players on numerous occasions.

Reducing the penalty count and keeping a full 15 on the pitch will be the lessons that coach Matt Shields will be drumming into his players throughout the seasonal break.

If Carlisle knew it would be tough after their promotion, Keswick probably felt that their elevation from the Cumbria League to North One West might be a step too far.

Going up two leagues in effect, they have struggled and have managed only one win so far, against Warrington who are one place above them in the table.

But Keswick have shown great resilience and haven’t been swamped as some might have feared. They appear to be learning and improving, which is about all coach Richard Metcalf could have asked for before a ball was kicked.

Injuries haven’t helped their cause but there’s been enjoyment for players, officials and supporters in meeting new opponents, or even meeting up with clubs they haven’t played for years.

The Lakesiders are almost certainly going to be playing in North Two West next year, where this season’s experiences should serve them well.

Penrith were involved in a battle to stay in North One West last season but that won’t be the case this time after a bright start had them leading the table after the first month.

They have fallen away but are still in a bunch of six clubs separated by six points, who are contesting second place behind clear leaders Wilmslow.

Whether Penrith can maintain this challenge might well depend on availabilities and injuries as they have been hit again this year.

But the bonus this time is the number of young players who have been thrown into the fray and who have come through the experience with flying colours.

This is all good for the future, with a number of the youthful newcomers looking ideal material for league rugby over the next few years.

Aspatria are already battling to avoid the drop from North Two West where they were promoted to after finishing runners-up in the Cumbria League.

They are currently third bottom but the last six in the table are all closely grouped with just five points between them.

The only team from Cumbria contesting this particular league they are enjoying the experience of playing outside the county again and are reasonably optimistic about fighting their way out of trouble.

The problem over the first-half of the season has been that they have got themselves into winning positions but haven’t been able to see it through, losing games at the death.

Matches against the other five clubs down the bottom are going to be key to survival, and ensuring that the Black Reds can pick up maximum points at Bower Park can ensure they retain their current status.

In the Cumbria League St. Benedict’s offer a serious threat to the long-term leaders Cockermouth as they are the form team in the competition.

Benny’s are now second in the table level on points with Cockermouth and with a game in hand, after a 90-0 win over Creighton on Saturday.

The match actually wasn’t quite as one sided as the scoreline suggests, with Creighton, after two very early tries, holding back St Benedicts with quite a decent spell in the first half, and applying pressure in the final ten minutes of the game.

Generally though Saints’ speed was far too much for the visitors to deal with, with Jordan Burns, Aaron Burns and Aidan Pirie running riot for the home team. Creighton never gave up, and battled until the final whistle.

St Benedict’s have won their last seven games now while Creighton stay bottom of the table.

In the only other Cumbria One match, Windermere narrowly lost out 14-12 to Carlisle Crusaders.

Whitehaven and Wigton share third place in the table, four points behind the leading two with Upper Eden a further two points behind in fifth.

It promises to be a tight finish to the season.