Anselmians 30 Keswick 6 would have been a credible score-line, but this was the respective penalty count against the two teams.

Saints’ normal free-flowing style was thwarted by a penalty stoppage almost every two minutes, and the crowd was deprived of what promised to be an exciting contest between two of the leading teams in the division.

It was clear from the start that Saints were not going to enjoy the physical forward dominance of previous outings when the Keswick pack drove theirs off the ball at the first scrummage.

From the start, Keswick demonstrated that they were a cut above the teams faced so far this season. They were ambitious in attack and defended aggressively.

But, with only 14 men on the pitch for more than 40 mins, Saints defended resolutely, and this was the foundation for a well-fought win away from home in very difficult circumstances. Saints got into the game after 10 minutes when Jack Richards crossed for a try converted by Dai Morley. The penalty count was already mounting and after just 16 minutes, Tommy Banks picked up the first of the four yellows for what was considered by the referee to be a high tackle.

Saints were then on the back foot and the hosts scored their first points from a penalty kick near the posts before Banks was able to return to the field. Just before half time, player-coach, Degsie Salisbury was also “yellowed” for continuing to bind the same way he has done through all his career of nearly 20 years at tight-head.

Then, right on half-time, one of the few penalty decisions in our favour gave Dai Morley the chance to add 3 points to his tally with a superbly struck 40-yarder.

The crowd was expecting Saints to exert more control in the second period as they had done in previous matches. But it was more of the same again with Keswick being awarded another penalty which was converted, and Paul Sherlock being carded almost immediately after Salisbury returned.

However, Niall Cavanagh got the touch-down after a despairing Keswick relief kick was charged down. Morley added the extras but then, almost immediately Cavanagh was carded.

With Saints down to 14 once more, Keswick squeezed over in the corner for a try which was admirably converted from long-range. But Saints held on for an impressive away win.