A LATE rally was not quite enough to earn Kirkby Lonsdale victory as they were edged out 16-13 in a hard fought North Premier clash at Alnwick.

The long trip to England's most northerly rugby club saw the visitors greeted with a warm welcome and decent weather, but they came out second best after a scrappy game typical of one involving two struggling sides in need of points.

Kirkby welcomed back Stu Storey at open side flanker and Leandro Kwiczor to the bench for his first game of the season, and they also gave a debut to youth product Archie Barber at hooker.

Alnwick kicked off towards their clubhouse and were first on the board with an unconverted try.

A Mike Fearon penalty narrowed the gap to 5-3 but a second unconverted try saw the home side stretch their lead before half time.

Kirkby had slightly the better of things in the second half and narrowed the gap with an unconverted try.

Two Alnwick penalties stretched the lead again but Kirkby weren't finished and an unconverted try from powerful centre Jack Ward narrowed the gap to three points.

The visitors poured forward in search of a winning try and the home side were forced into valiant defence, but they managed to hold out.

However, Kirkby had the consolation of denting Alnwick a bonus point, that feat enabling them to stay above the Northumbrians in the table as they prepare for Saturday's home clash against Wirral.