AFTER defeating Winnington Park in the Cheshire Vase the previous week, it was back to earth with a massive bang as Northwich returned to league competition.

It was the same old story in the 64-3 loss at Wirral, absent players leaving Northwich with a depleted front row and a mountain to climb.

The home side crossed for 10 tries, four of them pushovers from a scrum under immense pressure.

Blacks’ only response was a Husbands penalty.

If teams were rewarded for character, though, this match would have been closer.

Blacks trailed 40-3 at the interval and although the second half still proved to be difficult it turned out to be a little better.

The efforts of Tom Clark, Josh Warburton and Chris Heywood in the forwards reduced the number of Wirral attacks and with the determination of Richard Dale, Tom Wood and Joel Barber in the backs the pressure was eased and they reduced the home side to just four tries in the second period.

Northwich entertain Alnwick on Saturday, kick-off 2.15pm.

Blacks: 1 Tom Wilson, 2 Mike Gough, 3 Liam Marshall, 4 Chris Heywood, 5 Josh Warburton, 6 Aaron Collins, 7 Tom Clark, 8 Chris Dale, 9 Harry Naylor, 10 Tom Wood, 11 Kyle Clarke, 12 Joel Barber, 13 Richard Dale, 14 Tom Merrick, 15 Tom Husbands. Replacements: 16 Nick Baldwin, 17 Harvey Aston, 18 Alfie Sinclair.