CARLISLE will welcome the prospect of a Cumbrian derby to rouse them after a rather subdued effort at Ilkley saw them start 2020 with a disappointing defeat.

Matt Shields’ men, beaten 32-29 by the bottom side in North Premier, will be looking for a response against Kirkby Lonsdale at Warwick Road tomorrow.

The two county clubs are just below half-way - eighth and ninth in the table - with Carlisle trailing their visitors by just two points.

It will not have been forgotten by the Carlisle coach and his team that their first defeat after promotion to North Premier came in the third game where they crashed 43-7 at Kirkby Lonsdale.

To gain some degree of revenge Carlisle will have to step up on what they produced at Ilkley. It wasn’t good enough against a side who had only won one previous league game this season. They did earn two bonus points but Carlisle travelled believing that they could start the New Year with a win. Unfortunately, they seemed lacklustre after the festive break.

The pre-Christmas concerns over discipline issues also returned to handicap the performance. Three yellow cards at different times meant the team had to play half-an-hour with only 14 players, and in that time they conceded 18 points. Nothing more need be said!

Carlisle had turned round 12-10 behind with skipper Henry Wainwright scoring the only try and Jason Israel landing a conversion and penalty. Indeed Wainwright’s second try, converted by Israel put them in front soon after the restart.

Indeed, a fortunate try for Matthew Charters, converted by Israel had Carlisle 22-15 ahead at one point.

But two more yellow cards certainly didn’t help the Carlisle cause as Ilkley came back to lead 25-22 and then a penalty try added to the visitors’ woes.

They finished with 14 men but the one element of their game that was totally dominant by then, the scrum, was nullified with five minutes to go as Ilkley ran out of props. It meant the game finished with uncontested scrums and although Shields got in for a bonus point try, converted by Grant Connon, time right out.

Tomorrow’s visitors lost 30-16 at home on Saturday to second-in-the-table Harrogate.

The North One West game between Penrith and Keswick was postponed under tragic circumstances.

Richard Atkinson, a hugely-popular figure around the Keswick club and in the larger rugby union fraternity, had collapsed ahead of the bus departure for Penrith and could not be revived.

Chairman Trevor Keough said: “Richard was a wonderful bloke and a great servant to the Keswick club, holding various roles over the years from captain to chairman. He was currently involved in marketing and sponsorship for us.

“His death at 56 has come as a great shock to everyone at the club where his son and daughter are both players.”

Keswick will mark his death with an appropriate tribute ahead of tomorrow’s home league game against Broughton Park.

Richard’s funeral will be held at St John’s Church, Keswick, on Friday, January 17 at 11.30am, followed by a gathering at Keswick Rugby Club.

The visitors are fourth bottom, although 10 points clear of the faltering last three – Bowdon (12), Warrington (11) and Keswick (5) – and last weekend were beaten 58-19 at home by Firwood Waterloo.

Penrith resume tomorrow at Stockport, which should be a tight, interesting encounter. The Cumbrians are seventh, two points and one place above their hosts, but with a game in hand on them.

Aspatria secured a precious 26-20 home win against Bolton in North Two West which takes them out of the relegation basement, although there is still much work to be done to fight completely clear.

Eight points separate the bottom seven with the Black Reds only clear of the drop zone by a single point.

Tomorrow they travel to Salford to take on De La Salle who are leading that tight little group of seven, three points better off than the Black Reds.

Against Bolton, the Bower Park side had a 16 point half-time advantage but the visitors launched a comeback that looked very likely to burst the home side’s bubble. Only a tremendous rearguard action saved Aspatria’s day.

All of Aspatria’s 26 points came in the first half through with Jacques Rowe and Alex Barton scoring tries, while Jack Clegg converted both and kicked four penalties.

It had become frantic at 26-20, and when Aspatria lost Rowe to a yellow card on 72 minutes, Bolton seemed favourites to go and steal it. However, the Black Reds defended superbly to see out the game.

In the Cumbria League, Wigton lost more ground when they went down 46-22 at Egremont. That followed a pre-Christmas defeat, 10-7 at Hawcoat Park. Elliott Armstrong (2) and Fergus Ledingham scored the Wigton tries.

Tomorrow, the Greens will expect to get back on track at home to lowly Furness but they are last of the big five now, some eight points behind the joint-leaders Cockermouth and St. Benedict’s.

Cockermouth entertain Windermere and Benny’s are at home to Millom. Third-placed Whitehaven entertain Upper Eden who are fourth.

The other games are: Hawcoat Park v Creighton; Silloth v Egremont; Workington v Carlisle Crusaders.