Northwich 56-8 Anselmians 

NORTHWICH got from this game exactly what they had needed. 

A bonus-point victory sends them in the Cheshire RFU Vase final with spring in their step and, as importantly, bruising reduced from a defeat a Broughton Park last time out. 

They were not extended at all though by relegated opponents shorn of the boldness they had shown on a previous visit in the sunshine at Moss Farm back in August.  

It should be sobering for them that they were beaten so easily by a home team missing a long list of regulars – most of them left out as a precautionary measure while they nursed injuries. 

With so many changes, and some playing in an unfamiliar role, it was unsurprising that Northwich lacked cohesion in the first-half. 

They were untidy too, in part because they over-elaborated, but were still good enough to score three converted tries. 

Conor Lapniewski claimed the first of those after a maul pushed the Saints’ defence backwards following an attacking lineout. 

Nick Baldwin added the extras. 

Liam Isaacs landed a penalty at the other end before an incident off the ball led to Blacks forward Ben Ridgway leaving the field with a huge cut to his head. 

Northwich did not score again until the 33rd minute when Robin Houghton, one of their stand-out performers at outside centre, burst charged deep into Annies territory. 

He off-loaded to Bud Skinkis and he timed perfectly an off-load for Tom Husband to score in the corner. 

Scott Davidson powered his way to the line for another try after the visitors’ Liam Sadler had been sent to the sin bin, Baldwin’s kick establishing a 21-3 interval lead. 

Director of rugby Martin Poste demanded greater precision, and better application, from his charges during the interval and they responded. 

Richard Dale darted to the line within five minutes of the turnaround, dashing any faint hopes the away side had of recovering. 

Stephen Brooks was then shown a yellow card for a teetering Annies, and they were punished. 

Chris Dale’s opportunism earned for him the cheekiest try of the afternoon, touching down a ball that had left the back of a scrum close to the visitors’ line but their scrum-half waited a fraction too long to pick up. 

Joe Maddocks then resisted attempts to stop him when he barged over after receiving a pass from captain Matthew Poste. 

“He’s nailed everything him,” remarked one Annies player behind the sticks after Baldwin improved the second of those tries. 

The fly-half erred though shortly afterwards and watched the next 10 minutes from the sin bin. 

Saints scored on the restart, Tyler Brooks going over. 

It meant Richard Dale added the extras to his own score after Houghton again supplied a final pass, although Baldwin returned in time to convert a try for Poste. 

Northwich know they must play better to beat Birkenhead Park next weekend, but this was a job well done. 

Northwich | Maddocks, Lapniewski, Ridgway, Fray, Clark, Chris Dale, Williams, Richard Dale, Poste, Baldwin, Husband, Davidson, Houghton, Burmah, Skinkis Replacements Bennett, Ensor, Balshaw Tries Lapniewski, Husband, Davidson, Richard Dale (2), Chris Dale, Maddocks, Poste Cons Baldwin (7), Richard Dale