West Park 3 Northwich 31

A FIFTH successive win propelled Blacks to second in the standings – a promotion play-off position.

Injuries forced the visitors into changes at West Park, but a first start of the season for Yan Cartman at prop and the switch of Dean Kingi and Chris James to the front row helped Northwich to register their latest victory.

They were under pressure initially, falling behind when the hosts slotted a penalty after a defender had been caught offside.

Half an hour passed before the visitors restored parity, when Chris Dutoy replied with a three-pointer of his own, and then took the lead in the moments before the break.

Kingi drove into the heart of West Park’s defence, his momentum boosted by supporting runs from Ryan McKibbin and Chris Dale before the ball was released.

Dorian Simes touched down, Dutoy adding the extras.

Northwich extended their lead less than five minutes into the second period, this time when Dale collected the ball from a scrum and drove for the line.

It was recycled quickly to the backs before Dutoy placed a kick along the ground beyond the line for both Phil Williams – later credited with the try – and Simes to touch down simultaneously. Dutoy did the rest.

Blacks added another score five minutes later when a West Park clearance kick in their own 22 was charged down by skipper Gareth Davies, who collected to go over.

Dutoy converted, and his side appeared on course for a bonus point win.

With nine minutes remaining, another strong scrummage put pressure on the home team’s forwards and the ball spilled to Dale, who pounced to scamper over the whitewash.

Dutoy, ever reliable, completed a fine afternoon’s work with his fourth conversion success.

Northwich Cartman, James, Kingi, Heywood, Smith, Chris Dale, McKibbin, Watts, Davies, Dutoy, Campbell, Williams, Chubb, Houghton, Simes. Replacements Thompson, Cotterill, Underhill. Tries Simes, Williams, Davies, Chris Dale. Cons Dutoy (4). Pen Dutoy.