SAM Naylor says Northwich should look forward, not back, following a shattering last-minute defeat in Saturday’s promotion play-off at Bolton.
Blacks led 18-14 entering stoppage time at Avenue Street, only for Rick Newman to touch down for the hosts in the final play of a thrilling contest.
Mark Doherty’s conversion made it 21-18, securing with it back-to-back promotions for the Cherry and Whites.
For Northwich, it marks a second reverse in a winner-takes-all contest following a loss at Sandal in similar circumstances back in 2010.
But Naylor, Northwich chairman, recalled reasons to be cheerful for the Moss Farm-based club.
He said: “We gave our best on the field and it went right down to the wire, but Bolton just about deserved it.
“The support for the lads was magnificent and speaks volumes about our great club. It made me proud of everybody associated to it.
“We must now regroup and plan for the future.”
Ryan McKibbin’s interception try at the start of the second period edged the visitors ahead after they trailed 7-3 at half time.
However Ash Cooper touched down for Bolton shortly afterwards, adding to Newman’s converted try before the break.
Another opportunist try, this time when Chris Dale made his a stray pass, helped Northwich to assume control again at 15-14 following Chris Dutoy’s conversion.
He added a penalty, his second of the afternoon, to put Blacks four points in front with time running out.
But they could not hang on, bringing an end a sequence of 12 successive wins since the turn of the year.
Bolton, unbeaten on their own pitch since October 2012, extended their run without losing in the league there to 22 matches.
Their reward is to play in the Northern Division’s North One West from next season.
A full report, plus pictures, appears in Wednesday's Mid Cheshire Guardian.