Life may be tough at the top but Askam are finding it a lot tougher at the bottom.

However, they can take heart from their 18-14 defeat against high-flying Bradford opponents, Dudley Hill.

Stranded at the wrong end of the NCL Division Two table, the Villagers came so close to pulling off a shock win that there were enough signs to show that the future may not be as bleak as their record of one win in seven games suggests.

Stand-in coaches Dean Marwood and Tammy Tyson can take encouragement from the spirited effort of their much-changed young squad and they fell short only because time ran out on them as they staged a spirited fight back.

Second-placed Dudley Hill, relying on size and strength to outmuscle the home side, went into a tenth-minute lead with a try from loose-forward Adam Jefferson, but once Askam got into their stride they struck back with a long-range try from centre Ben Lewney .

The visitors were reduced to 12 men when their centre Martin Southwell was dismissed for verbal abuse after 32 minutes, but the red card acted as a spur to the Bradford side and three tries in the space of ten minutes early in the second half from Neil Wall, Andy Walker and Damien Smith rocked Askam.

A string of handling mistakes led to a scrappy period before a spectacular try from Kristian Tyson gave Askam fresh hope and when Lee Alexander charged his way through the tiring Hill defence, the gap was down to four points with ten minutes left.

Most of those were spent deep in Bradford territory, as Askam went in search of a well-earned draw, but they fell just short.

Barrow Island had a successful trip to Warrington, where a 23-16 win over Crosfields lifted them into the top five.

The home side took an early lead, but once Blaine Marwood went in for the equalising try, Island were in charge and by the interval further tries Dan White and Josh Banham, converted by Adam Jackson took them into a commanding 18-4 lead.

An early second half score by Crosfields cut the gap to ten points before Chris Burns crossed for Barrow Island’s fourth try and a Jackson drop goal left the home side with too much to do although they did score two late tries.

Ulverston’s trip to Wigan club Hindley in the North West Men’s League was marred by a serious injury to Liam Saunders that caused their game to be abandoned.

Roose Pioneers are settling into life back in the NWML and their trip to Eccleston Lions resulted in an impressive 36-0 victory.

Walney Central, another club who are rebuilding by bringing through their young talent went down 22-12 at Orrell St James, but there was better luck from a trip down the M6 for Hindpool Tigers who came away from Wigan St. Judes A with both points after a 32-22 victory.