Penrith 22

Blackburn 36

BLACKBURN go in to their final game of the season against Douglas on Saturday with one eye on what is happening at the top of the North One East division.

Having already secured second spot in North One West Burn will play their North One East counterparts in a one-off promotion play-off - with the team with the best record gaining home advantage.

And it could not be any tighter.

Blackburn and Scarborough have near identical records; both have won 18 and lost six games and both are locked on 95 points.

Crucially however, Scarborough’s ‘points for’ column is significantly better - 788 compared to Blackburn’s 426 - so it could all go down to who picks up a bonus point victory at the weekend.

And that is something Blackburn coach Dino Radice knew all along as the season reached its climax.

“I have always said we have to win all our games and try and do it with a bonus point and see what happens at the end of the season,” he said. “We have just taken it one game at a time and if we finish with a better record than Scarborough and have home advantage then that would be great but we have no problem travelling over there if that is the way everything pans out.”

Boro matched Burn bonus point for bonus point last weekend, winning 43-17 at Malton and Norton while Radice’s side came away from Cumbria with a maximum haul.

Burn will now be hoping Scarborough slip up at home to Bradford and Bingley - sixth placed in North One East - and take full advantage against a Douglas side who travel over from the Isle of Man fifth in the table.

Blackburn did what they had to do up in Penrith, not quite hitting top gear but still managed to run in six tries.

The home side caught Burn cold in the second minute, intercepting a loose pass to run in and score under the post, and with the conversion added, Penrith led 7-0.

Blackburn weathered an early storm and got back in to the game on the 20 minute mark when Scott Richardson who powered through two defenders to score after good work by Corey Logan and Wilf Whittle. Leon Fifield missed the conversion.

Burn then took the lead soon after.

The fit again George Skofic was brought down just short but the ball was then fed to Jamie Brookes who made a half break before offloading to Sam Gale who ran in from 35 metres out. Fifield added the extras.

Burn continued to have the better of the play and their cause was helped as the Penrith hooker was shown a yellow card on 31 minutes.

They didn’t take long to take advantage when Phil Baines put Skofic into space to score in the corner. The conversion was missed, but Burn had a 7-17 lead.

However they went to sleep and allowed their hosts to run in a second try to close the gap to 17-12 at the break.

But 10 minutes after the restart, Burn scored a fourth to bring up the bonus point when a lovely delayed pass from Marc Maher created space for Fifield to score under the posts then added the conversion.

But what should have been a comfortable 12-point lead ended with Penrith running in two quick tries and suddenly Blackburn’s lead was 24-22.

Penrith’s tails were up and they kept the pressure on Blackburn and were camped on the visitor’s line but the defence held strong and kept their opponents out.

In the 66th minute, Blackburn regained control when they scored a fifth try, Maher just having enough strength to hold off the Penrith man to score in the corner

A sixth try arrived when Sam Gale gathered a loose ball in his own half, made a looping run to take him into the Penrith half, he found Sammy Russell who offloaded to Gale who ran on to score.