NORTHWICH left it late against Altrincham Kersal, but there can be no doubt their latest victory was a deserved one.

Blacks outscored their opponents by seven tries to one, but the outcome remained in doubt until Richard Dale dotted down his second of the contest with eight minutes left.

Nick Baldwin, on as an interval replacement, sent him to the line with a beautifully-improvised pass over the shoulder after reaching first his own cute chip-and-charge.

The fly-half was Blacks’ outstanding performer, helping his side to take control with intelligent distribution.

His reliable right boot played a part as well.

Martin Poste’s men converted three of the four tries they scored in the second period, and Baldwin was only denied a perfect record by an upright.

In contrast, they added extras only once before the break.

As if to reinforce the importance of making kicks count, Jimmy Smith was successful with five penalty attempts for Kersal.

It kept the game alive.

The visitors, victors on their previous visit to Moss Farm the season before last, believed they could end their wait for a first away win of the current campaign when his final three-pointer made it 24-20 on 63 minutes.

They were resilient throughout but Blacks, as if they had been jolted, reacted every time Altrincham got close.

A Smith penalty put the first points on the board inside five minutes.

Northwich, unkempt initially, rose from their slumber when Joel Barber sprinted to the left corner after Will Du Randt – playing at full-back – had caught his own up-and-under deep inside opposition territory.

James Underhill could not convert though.

Blacks’ second try was a classic taken straight from their playbook; Underhill started the move after receiving the ball inside his own 22, passing it to Chris Dale.

The Northwich captain timed perfectly an off-load to his younger brother Richard, and the wing sped away from Altrincham’s last man with a gleeful grin.

Kersal notched their only try midway through the opening half when Tom Morris provided an overlap on the right, and they edged in front when Smith landed a penalty.

The hosts replied from the restart, Chris James touching down between the posts after Chris Dale had darted through a gap in a sleeping Altrincham rearguard.

Richard Dale added a conversion, before Smith’s three-pointer kept his team in touch at 17-14.

He repeated the trick after an hour, briefly restoring parity, only for Northwich to again score from their next attack when James Reilly pivoted cleverly before running to the line.

But it was Baldwin’s brilliance, for Richard Dale’s second try, that broke Altrincham’s resistance.

He initiated another move, which also involved Underhill and Barber, that ended with Sam Naylor claiming the first of his two tries on 76 minutes.

The flanker, by this time playing at number eight following Chris Dale’s departure, created the next one himself by charging down an attempted clearance.

Baldwin’s kick was the last act of a game that delivered an eighth win in nine attempts.

Northwich | Dudley, James, Thompson, Smith, Farley, Heywood, Naylor, Chris Dale, Poste, Reilly, Richard Dale, Underhill, Barber, Houghton, Du Randt Replacements English, Baldwin, Bates Tries Barber, Richard Dale (2), James, Reilly, Naylor (2) Cons Richard Dale, Baldwin (3)