Carlisle 12

Kirkby Lonsdale 36

KIRKBY Lonsdale secured a place in the end-of-season promotion play-off with an emphatic win at Cumbrian neighbours Carlisle.

And one more victory in their final game of the season against Vale of Lune on Saturday will see them secure vital home advantage as they attempt to get in to National League Three North for the first time in their history.

Despite the impressive bonus point victory, which meant Kendal could not catch them, Carlisle were in no mood to make matters easy and there was genuine hostility in the clash of the Cumbrians, especially in the second half.

Kirkby made an early breakthrough when flanker Stuart Storey burst through from the back of a scrum to score with a graceful swallow dive finish

The conversion attempt drifted wide but Kirkb were 5-0 up with four minutes on the clock.

The wind was proving to be a big factor in the game and Kirkby were looking to build up a defendable lead before half time.

Centre Jack Akrigg crossed for a second try, diving over wide on the left but again the conversion was missed.

Carlisle did reduce the deficit when they managed to charge down a clearance kick to gather and score by the left corner flag but Kirkby regained the initiative almost immediately when scrum half Ben Walker took a quick tap and go and then spun a pass wide right to winger Chad Spence who beat the defence to score a third try for the visitors.

Five minutes later, Walker was in the action again, a jinking run taking him past several defenders before he slipped a pass to stand off Dave Barton who duly scored the fourth and bonus point try - Tom Pickthall slotted over a great conversion and Kirkby led 22-5.

With the wind on their backs, a fifth try soon followed, this time a solo effort from Walker who stole through to score with Pickthall again on target to make it 29-5 at half time.

Tempers flared after the break and Carlisle's Henry Wainwright and Kirkby's Akrigg were both sent to the sin-bin before the home side's Josh Holmes was given a straight red.

A string of penalties saw Carlisle gain territorial advantage and their classy centre Damian Armstrong broke through to score a try which was converted to cut the gape to 29-12.

Carlisle still needed three scores to take the lead and while they had opportunities they never really looked like achieving that as Kirkby's defence stood firm.

After soacking up the pressure, Pickthall broke clear to score a sixth try which he also converted to make it 36-12.

The bonus point win puts Kirkby into an unassailable position as runners up, six points ahead of Kendal with one game to play.

Victory on Saturday would give them home advantage over either Sheffield or Ilkley from North East One.