Carlisle haven’t enjoyed a good start to 2020 with successive defeats, and Harrogate away is not the best opportunity to end that sequence.

They are currently lying second in the North Premier table only a point behind faltering leaders Billingham and they have every reason to up their game against Carlisle.

Rewind to November 30, and Carlisle produced one of their best performances to defeat Harrogate 29-17 in a catch-up game at Warwick Road.

That has to provide some inspiration for Matt Shields and his men as they hit really good form in that game to make Harrogate look a bit ordinary.

As always it will depend on the quality and the make up of the travelling squad as Carlisle try to erase the memory of a three-point defeat at Ilkley and a five-point reversal at home to Kirkby Lonsdale.

Warwick Road proved to be a mudbath on Saturday when Carlisle went down 10-5 to their Cumbrian rivals, with all the points coming in the first-half.

Ben Purdham scored the Carlisle try which west Cumbrian Mike Fearon scored all Kirkby’s points from a try, conversion and penalty.

Despite the conditions it was a fascinating game to watch, with Carlisle unable to convert territory and possession in the first half into points, which came back to haunt them by the end of the game.

A draw probably would have reflected the balance of play, but Kirkby did enough in the second half to keep Carlisle well away from their try line and complete the league double over the Warwick Road side.

It was a disappointing result, but a better performance by Carlisle in comparison to the previous week’s struggle at Ilkley, and at least we gained another losing bonus point which could be crucial come the end of the season.

In North One West, there was another postponement for Keswick when scheduled opponents Broughton Park were stranded at Kirkby Lonsdale when their coach broke down.

Unable to organise alternative transport they had to reluctantly pull-out of the fixture, which will be played at a later date.

The previous week the game at Penrith was postponed after tragic sudden death of club stalwart Richard Atkinson, whose funeral is being held today.

The game has now been rearranged for Friday, January 24 at Winters Park, Penrith with a 7.30pm kick-off.

Penrith were on the wrong end of a 41-26 defeat at Stockport, but the four tries they scored earned them a bonus point.

But like Broughton Park en-route to Keswick they endured travelling problems themselves, although they did make it in the end.

The team coach arrived at the ground five minutes after the scheduled kick-off time and the half hour warm up time promised en-route was quickly reduced to quarter of an hour on arrival and Penrith were virtually straight off the coach and into the game.

As a result the closing stages were played in poor visibility although Penrith stayed the distance to score their fourth try, earning the point, in gathering gloom. It gave them some reward from a difficult day.

Penrith had trailed 26-5 at the break and on other days that might have been it for some Penrith sides but not this one. With the wind at their backs they did dig in and win the second half 16-15 by scoring another three tries to earn the bonus point.

Dan Morland scored the fourth try to earn the bonus point after Craig Tyson, Nathan Alcock and Dan Richardson had touched down earlier.

Penrith, now mid-table, have a tough assignment tomorrow when they travel to leaders Wilmslow.

Keswick hope to get back into action tomorrow with a league game on the Isle of Man against Douglas.

Aspatria’s last-minute nightmares continue to stack up in North Two West as they were beaten by the last kick of the game at Salford De La Salle.

The Black Reds went down 23-22 and had to settle for the consolation of a losing bonus point which helps to keep them clear of the drop zone.

It all hinged on the closing stages when the game would be over at the next breakdown with Aspatria holding on for a 22-20 win.

DLS had possession but Aspatria capably held them at bay but such are the fortunes of the game that when the breakdown came it was with a penalty to the hosts around 40 metres out.

In the conditions it remained a difficult kick but the ball rattled off the post and over the bar.

Jamie Lightfoot, Jacques Rowe and Phil Dixon scored the Aspatria tries with Jack Clegg converting two and adding a penalty.

Tomorrow Aspatria host Eccles in a key relegation scrap but a lot of reminiscing will be going on about former Black Reds coach Dave Robinson, struggling with Alzheimers, who will be the beneficiary from a special sold-out lunch.

n TABLES, results & fixtures: Page 27

In the Cumbria League the big game tomorrow is Upper Eden v Cockermouth – third against joint leaders. The top five are separated by nine points.

Upper Eden secured the most important result at the week-end as they won 25-17 at Whitehaven. The other three promotion contenders all won – Cockermouth 26-0 at home to Windermere; St. Benedict’s 86-6 at home to Millom and Wigton 63-0 entertaining Furness.

The other games tomorrow are: Carlisle Crusaders v Hawcoat Park; Creighton v St. Benedict’s; Egremont v Furness; Millom v Wigton; Silloth v Whitehaven and Windermere v Workington.