For the first time in living memory Penrith did not fulfil their first team fixture on Saturday.

They didn’t travel to Wilmslow as they couldn’t raise a full side and were particularly short of qualified front-row players.

The club is deeply saddened and embarrassed by the situation and came after every effort had been made throughout the week to avoid it.

The decision to postpone was only taken after every option had been exhausted.

Penrith has not made a habit of this type of thing and the last two away games illustrate this point.

The logistics en-route to Stockport last week were dreadful with problems with the coach and the M6 closure but the journey was completed in full knowledge they would arrive late and have little or no preparation time when they could have quite legitimately turned back. To complete the squad for the previous away game both coaches were named on the bench so that fixture could be played.

Penrith have used 42 players to date this season, which tells it’s own tale.

Of the 42, 14 were available, five are out of the country, 10 are injured and the remainder were unavailable with either social, family, illness, or work commitments, some of which only occurred on the Saturday morning,

The net was thrown much wider than that before the weekend but to no avail.

There was criticism on certain social media regarding the fact that the A team played at Workington but the front-row in that team were either not registered or the Club deemed, for health and safety reasons, that it would it would be inappropriate for them to step up.

The club has apologised to Wilmslow and the game will be replayed on February 22.

First Team Manager Mike Sanderson said: “I hope this acts as a wake up call and players now do not cry off so lightly and leave the commitment to other members of the squad.

“If you are going to be committed to rugby at this level you cannot always be 110 per cent fit before every game and you have to make some sacrifices.

“I played an awful lot of games but I also worked an awful lot of evenings and Sundays for a free Saturday afternoon.”

Club stalwart and chairman Geoff Matthews added: “We try really hard to create the best environment for people to play rugby in the form of the best of transport, kit, medical and physio facilities and coaching.

“The least we would hope in return is some form of regular commitment.

“Without that we’ll end up languishing in some lower league like Cumbria One or North Lancs/Cheshire.”

Penrith expect to be back in League action this Friday evening (ko 7-30pm) when they will stage the North One West game at home to Keswick which was postponed a couple of weeks ago because of the tragic death of Richard Atkinson.

Keswick did play on Saturday and enjoyed their best away result of the season when they were narrowly beaten 24-22 on the Isle of Man by Douglas.

Playing their best rugby of the season, as they did much better at the set pieces, Keswick actually led 17-7 at the break.

Ryan Weir (2) and James Hinkley had scored tries, one of which was converted by Lewis Bell.

Douglas rallied in the second half and took a 24-17 lead into the last ten minutes.

In a determined finish by Keswick a try by Harry Vaillant gave them the chance of a draw but Bell’s touchline conversion attempt was just wide.