THE great escape is on the cards.

Kendal's heavy defeat at relegation rivals Penrith on Saturday appeared to all but consign them to the drop.

But a heartstopping last ball victory over Chorley at Shap Road on Monday, coupled with Penrith's trouncing at Fleetwood, has changed the situation dramatically.

The Auld Greys now host Garstang on Saturday knowing victory could edge them out of the Northern League relegation places going into the final game of the season, which is of course the derby crunch game at Netherfield.

"It was just one of those games that kept swinging one way then the other," said Kendal's Chris Miller.

"It was a great game in front of a good crowd."

And the Auld Greys skipper, who handed over the captain's armband to the veteran Terry Hunte on Monday, praised the efforts of substitute professional James Price, whose half-century coupled with three vital wickets played a big part in the triumph.

"It was a fantastic performance by James Price," said Miller.

"When you have a substitute professional, you never know whether they are going to be as committed as they are to their own team, but James was superb.

"He batted so well and then he put such a great effort in with his bowling which played such a big part in a vital win."

The change of mood at Shap Road at the start and end of Monday's game was comparable to that in England's Ashes squad before and after that incredible Ben Stokes inspired chase.

Kendal took to the field 26 points from safety after Saturday's debacle at Penrith, when they were shot out for just 45 and ultimately lost by six wickets, and knowing that their fate could be sealed before the day was out.

But they put in a superb performance to see off a Chorley side not short of quality, but victory was only secured after a thrilling game of twists and turns which went right to the wire.

The home faithful must have feared the worst when Saeed Bariwala and Tom Benn fell early on to Jim Lee then the visitors' Sri Lankan professional Chami Edirisinghe struck twice to reduce Kendal to 38/4.

But on a hot, humid afternoon, Hunte joined Price and the pair engineered a spirited recovery with a stand of 91.

Hunte in particular caught the eye with some excellent running between the wickets, a task necessitated by a sluggish outfield which saw a number of seemingly certain fours pulling up short of the rope.

The reintroduction of young Ed Moulton to the attack swung things back Chorley's way as he clean bowled both players, beating them for pace with rapid deliveries.

A flurry of wickets followed, but Miller chipped in with an undefeated knock of 18 to haul Kendal to a very respectable 157/8.

And the Auld Greys' victory hopes were raised when Kuldeep Singh struck three times to reduce the visitors to 18/3.

But Price's countryman Wian Van Zyl's half century hauled his side back into contention and the game swung one way then the other, Chorley nerves showing as both skipper Andy Holdsworth and Harry Barclay were run out attempting chancy singles.

It all came down to the last ball and with the last pair at the wicket and two runs required, Price clean bowled Lee to spark wild celebrations on and off the field.

The gap between Penrith and Kendal is now just 11 points, and with Price confirmed as sub pro once again for the Garstang game, when Hunte will again skipper the side, it's all set for a nailbiting end to the campaign with Kendal's fate potentially resting on that final day derby at Parkside Road.