Ball retention the difference as Northwich make Worcester Wanderers fight for their victory

Northwich Guardian: Northwich pushed promotion hopefuls Worcester hard on Saturday. Northwich pushed promotion hopefuls Worcester hard on Saturday.

Midlands One West
Northwich 5
Worcester Wanderers 24

WORCESTER were made to work by Northwich for a win that keeps them in contention to finish first in the table at the season’s end.

This encounter was much closer than their previous one, won 45-3 by the promotion hopefuls back in September, with Blacks the better side early on.

They dominated territory on a sodden playing surface, but failed to make their pressure count.

Chris Dutoy missed two penalty attempts during the opening exchanges, the visitors breaking the deadlock when Tom Richmond fed Richard Ralph, who sent in Gareth Edwards for a simple score.
Tom Briggs added the extras.

The hosts’ response was immediate, Gareth Davies finding a gap into which he kicked the ball behind Worcester’s defence.

From the resulting set piece, Rick Smith made his a bouncing ball to cross the whitewash although Dutoy could not convert afterwards to level the score.

Wanderers’ ball retention in testing conditions proved decisive before the break, Simon Daws scoring a fine try following James Price’s clever inside pass.

Biggs converted again to make it 14-5.

Worcester assumed control in the second half, applying similar pressure to that which they endured in the opening period.

Unconverted tries from James Priddey and Simon James earned the visitors a bonus point, condemning Northwich to a tenth successive defeat.

“Northwich competed right up to the final whistle,” said Stuart James, Worcester’s director of rugby.

The distance to a position of safety for Northwich remains at 13 points, with eight games of the season left.

They head next to Berkswell & Balsall, kick off 2.15pm.

Northwich Dodd, Eaves, Fallows, Farley, Heath, Naylor, Smith, McKibbin, Davies, Sneddon, Legg, Shields, Bellis, Dutoy, Gavin. Replacements used Cartman, Steele, Bradfield. Try Smith.

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