CHANGES continue to be made at Northwich RUFC as the struggle to compete at the higher level goes on.

Sam Naylor, promoted to assistant coach last month, took over the captaincy for Saturday’s home clash against North Premier title favourites Otley at Moss Farm.

It’s the latest development since since Martin Poste stepped down as director of rugby two months ago for health reasons, with head coach Andy Roberts assuming full control of the senior rugby operation.

Then former first-team manger Yan Cartman was appointed as the club’s new director of rugby, taking a position on the main committee and having a focus of responsibility on recruitment, management of players and senior budget control.

So it would seem losing 59-0 at home at the weekend was the same old story of a one-sided affair and Northwich continuing to not find a way to make any impression on this division.

However, this was not the whole story, as Blacks – depleted of Chris Heywood, Joel Barber, Chris Dale and Joe Maddocks – put in a sterling effort.

James Braithwaite made an impressive debut on the wing. There was also a welcome return for Scott Davidson and Ellis Vickery.

Despite trailing 31-0 at the break, Northwich never gave up in their 13th straight league defeat.

They were ambitious with ball in hand and dogged in defence. The patience Otley showed proved to be the difference as they went through gears Blacks just did not have.

Naylor expressed his pleasure with the efforts of his charges. The season will continue to be a massive challenge but pride has been restored and there was a degree of enjoyment for all concerned.

Northwich visit Macclesfield on Saturday, kick-off 2.15pm.