MARTIN Poste had warned his players beforehand that he didn’t want Anselmians to leave Moss Farm with their tails up.

And he got his wish.

Northwich were impressive, and convincing, victors and had all but put the tie beyond their guests’ reach before the break.

If Saints, promoted from the level below but with expectations high of holding their own, wanted an indication of what they’re letting themselves in for then they have one now.

If not outclassed, they were outthought – particularly in the first-half.

Blacks, clad in gold on this occasion, needed only three minutes to take the lead.

It may be a new season, but there was a familiarity to a move that included Richard Dale inviting Joel Barber to charge to the whitewash.

James Underhill, kicking in the absence of injured Nick Baldwin, had a simple task.

A second try followed midway through the half when Dale collected a clever offload from Underhill to dart between the posts.

The conversion was completed too.

Anselmians fell further behind when Chris James, deployed in the second row while Conor Lapniewski hooked, collected a lofted pass sent his way before going over in the corner.

Northwich continued to dominate, and an indication they were sharper of mind came when captain Matthew Poste peeled off a catch-and-drive following a lineout and grounded the ball before a defender had time to react.

The visitors looked dazed, although they did improve after the interval.

They survived a scare first though when Sam Naylor’s surge concluded with him attempting to reach his own up-and-under only to be thwarted by the bounce.

Saints then scored during their best spell of the contest, and for the minutes that followed their pressure made Blacks look less assured.

Northwich are made of stern stuff these days though, and didn’t wilt even without departed James Reilly’s steadying presence.

Instead they put more points on the board when they won back possession, Will Du Randt’s acceleration catching out retreating defenders before he passed to Bud Skinkis who did the rest.

Underhill added the extras.

If the contest wasn’t over then, it was after substitute Ben Ridgway timed perfectly a release for Dale to dash clear and claim his side’s sixth try.

Poste sent on Tom Clark, a graduate from Northwich’s colts' side, for a run-out after James was forced off with a muscle strain.

Those gathered to watch in the sunshine reacted with glee when the teenager took down scrum-half Josh Stead with a forceful tackle, and one galloping run almost yielded the reward of another try with time running out.

Instead the visitors completed the scoring by dotting down in the corner.

However Northwich had long since reserved a semi-finals spot as well as laying a marker their director of rugby had asked for ahead of next weekend’s meeting between the teams in a league opener.

Northwich | Maddocks, Lapniewski, Bennett, Heywood, James, Harrison, Balshaw, Naylor, Poste, Underhill, Skinkis, Richard Dale, Barber, Houghton, Du Randt Replacements (all used) Ridgway, Farley, Gough, Wilkinson, Clark Tries Barber, Richard Dale (2), James, Poste, Skinkis Conversions Underhill (4)