NO rival can match what Northwich have done this season.

They completed a double on Saturday over opponents most observers consider to be the North One West champions-elect to keep alive their own promotion hopes.

Carlisle can be forgiven for having mixed feelings about Blacks’ prospects after losing every game between the sides since they stepped up to this level.

Nick Baldwin’s penalty from in front of the posts inside the opening 60 seconds set the tone.

His cross-field kick then picked out Bud Skinkis to score a try five minutes later after Northwich had moved the ball across the park from an attacking scrum.

The visitors continued to apply pressure and were awarded a penalty close to the home team’s line.

Skipper Matthew Poste tapped it quickly only for his floated pass to be intercepted by wing Jonny Crichton who scooted the length of the field before touching down in the corner.

Grant Connon’s conversion was successful.

An arm wrestle ensued as the leaders attempted to take control but they were left frustrated by a referee that consistently judged them to have infringed at the breakdown.

They did establish an interval lead though after securing possession from a lineout, moving through a series of pick and goes before Alex Neil burrowed his way over.

Connon’s extras made it 14-8.

Blacks started the second period as they had the first, punishing Carlisle’s sloppiness and finding gaps in their defence.

Fine approach play in the centre by Richard Dale and debutant Scott Davidson, signed on Friday from Waterloo, created space for Will Du Randt to dot down.

Baldwin was on target from the conversion, and was again with a penalty-kick awarded after Josh Holmes had been sent to the sin-bin as punishment for a high tackle.

The Cumbrian outfit reacted well with 14 men, and pushed back their guests who defended resolutely to keep them at by before turning over possession.

Baldwin then landed another three-pointer from long-range to make it 21-14 with 10 minutes left.

Carlisle laid siege to the visitors’ line and were rewarded when full-back Max Connon dived over after a ruck formed metres from the Northwich line.

However Grant Connon, kicking into a strong wind, saw his conversion fall short.

The leaders lost a league game in front of their own supporters for the first time this season, after a sequence of eight wins, as a result.

Northwich | Maddocks, James, Bradshaw, Heywood, Clark, Ensor, Naylor, Williams, Poste, Baldwin, Du Randt, Richard Dale, Davidson, Skinkis, Barber Replacements Husband, Bennett, Gough Tries Skinkis, Du Randt Con Baldwin Pens Baldwin (3)