NORTHWICH Rugby Club gave high flying Rossendale a huge scare before finally going down 36-27 for their third successive defeat.

Blacks gave a great account of themselves by competing against a formidable Lancashire team who have high ambitions to be promoted to National League level four next season.

Northwich led for almost an hour but the home side’s greater size, strength and stamina took its toll mid-way through the second period.

Northwich’s overall performance bodes well for the future and the impact of forwards coach Steve Dorrington is beginning to show with a much-improved showing in the tight and being far more competitive in the loose.

Another pleasing facet of the contest was that Northwich scored four tries for the fourth game in a row, gaining a valuable bonus point in the process.

Northwich now have nine points from five games but face a stern test when they entertain high flying Sandbach in their next match on Saturday week when they hope to be bolstered by the return of Matt Lafeta and Ethyn Martin both of whom were forced to miss the Rossendale game because of injury.

Northwich were up for the contest from the kick off and within 16 minutes established a 10-0 lead through two unconverted tries by the impressive South African prop Rory Leidekkers, the second of which came from a well-executed lineout move from 15 metres out.

Within 10 minutes Rossendale were level through a converted try and penalty but the visitors re-took the lead when Leidekkers’ deft pass allowed his compatriot Jordan Clark to scamper through a gap, with skipper Nick Baldwin adding the extras.

Rossendale scored a converted try with the last play of the half to bring the scores level at 17-17.

Northwich were fast out of the blocks at the start of the second period when flanker Aaron Collins’ well-timed inside pass allowed winger Jack Braithwaite to speed through a gap and cross the whitewash, Baldwin adding the extras.

The home side made changes to their entire front row and the fresh legs started to take its toll on the tiring but still combatant Northwich pack.

Rossendale hit back when a series of drives inside the Northwich half resulted in the stand-off stepping through to score, with the successful conversion levelling the scores once again.

Blacks continued to defend stoutly but the superior scrummaging of the Rossendale pack saw the home side take the lead for the first time in the 60th minute when the No8 picked up from the base of the scrum and scored out wide on the right-hand touchline.

Four minutes later Northwich reduced the arrears to two points when Baldwin slotted over a penalty but the home side scored another try near the left touchline after a series of pick and drives, the resulting successful conversion giving Rossendale a nine-point cushion which they held until the final whistle.