ONE test of a team’s resilience is that they win when they’re not expected to.

Northwich did exactly that on Saturday.

Shorn of more than half-a-dozen regulars, Blacks were on course for a third successive defeat against Manchester when they trailed 26-21 entering added time.

They applied relentless pressure and were rewarded when Scott Davidson, making his home debut, darted through a gap to score.

Nick Baldwin’s successful conversion kick secured an unexpected bonus-point victory and keeps his side in contention for a promotion play-off place in North One West.

That had appeared an unlikely outcome earlier in the afternoon.

Adam Bennett and Chris Bradshaw propped in the absence of Joe Maddocks and Ben Ridgway while Michael Gough filled in at flanker with Matt Ensor, Sam Naylor, Shaun Burmah and Phil Williams all ruled out.

Manchester, still in need of victories to ensure their survival at this level for another season, started on the front foot.

They took the lead too when a kick cross-field by their fly-half was collected and dotted down.

The visitors dominated too until the half-hour when Baldwin matched his counterpart’s feat and picked out Will Du Randt who gathered and scored.

Baldwin’s extras gave Northwich a narrow lead against the run of play.

They moved further ahead shortly afterwards when a penalty was tapped in midfield and smart approach play ended with full-back Joel Barber claiming the hosts’ second try.

Baldwin remained reliable, making it 14-5.

To their credit, Manchester replied with a pair of converted tries to establish a deserved advantage by the break.

Blacks took the initiative afterwards, going through a series of phases after an attacking scrum that led to wing Tom Husband finishing a fine move.

Baldwin’s conversion followed and they inched in front once more.

However Manchester then landed what they thought would be a decisive blow when they pounced on a loose ball and charged to the line.

A cover tackle was judged by the referee to be high, and he awarded a penalty-try.

Northwich refused to relent, and Davidson’s late intervention changed the course of a topsy-turvy encounter for a one last time.

Northwich | Bennett, James, Bradshaw, Heywood, Clark, Gough, Balshaw, Chris Dale, Poste, Baldwin, Du Randt, Richard Dale, Davidson, Husband, Barber Replacements Laddle, Fray, Wood Tries Du Randt, Barber, Husband, Davidson Cons Baldwin (4)

Additional reporting by Steve Wood