BUD Skinkis scored a late try that enabled Northwich to avoid a third successive defeat.

It was a just reward for their doggedness, and they take back second spot in North One West as a result.

A victory at home to whipping boys St Benedicts on Saturday would establish a gap again to their rivals for the promotion play-off place.

They start that game buoyed by a collective response that director of rugby Martin Poste had asked for following a surprise reverse against Manchester at Moss Farm seven days earlier.

He restored Richard Dale to the back-row, and James Underhill returned at outside centre.

The visitors began purposefully, and were rewarded inside five minutes when Nick Baldwin produced a pinpoint cross-field kick that Skinkis gathered before touching down.

Carlisle responded though, and Blacks resisted their attempt to get back into the game.

Instead Baldwin was able to extend their lead with a successful penalty kick after the hosts were caught offside.

He repeated the trick after half an hour following another infringement, and the visitors led 11-0 at the break.

The Cumbrians pinned back their guests early in the second-half, and captain Tom Graham crashed over after an attack was switched across to the left.

A stalemate followed, and the home team had to wait 20 minutes before they edged in front through a penalty-try following a series of scrums close to the Northwich line.

At 12-11 down and with time running out, Blacks could be forgiven for feeling a sense of déjà vu.

They laid siege to the Carlisle defence for the remainder, and found a way through using the same route as they had done earlier on when Baldwin’s kick picked out Skinkis.

He did the rest, although Baldwin could not improve on the wing’s try.

Carlisle did their best to rally, but a knock-on gifted to Northwich a scrum they managed to win before Richard Dale gleefully booted the ball to safety.

Northwich | Ridgway, King, Hulbert, Heywood, Fray, English, Balshaw, Richard Dale, Poste, Baldwin, Montgomery, Reilly, Underhill, Skinkis, Barber Replacements Dean, Thompson, Naylor Tries Skinkis (2) Pens Baldwin (2)

Match report by Steve Wood