Nobody does it better 

Northwich, already the most decorated team in the Cheshire RFU Vase’s short history, have now prevailed in four finals. 

The past two, both of them since Martin Poste was appointed as director of rugby, have seen them beat Birkenhead Park. 

In an interview with the Guardian beforehand, lock Chris Heywood said Blacks would be as motivated, if not more, to avenge successive defeats in North One West against yesterday’s opponents than they would be to win a piece of silverware. 

“That would be the icing on the cake,” he said. 

A distance between the teams is negligible; in six meetings since Poste was appointed in 2015, Northwich have won three and lost the same number. 

Northwich’s resolve is stronger than ever 

Teams don’t score late tries as often as Northwich because they're lucky. 

They turned a defeat into victory with last-gasp interventions against Waterloo (23-20) and Manchester (28-26), while Chris James barged over with time running out to see off Stockport. 

However they trumped each of those in the sunshine at New Brighton, where they had spent pretty much the entire second-half on the back foot. 

Park’s second try tied the scores at 17-17 but, rather than risk extra-time, Blacks summoned the energy for one decisive attack that saw Richard Dale claim Nick Baldwin’s beautifully-flighted chip. 

Never bet against this side. 

But they had to win the hard way 

A tally of three yellow cards, for Baldwin, Matt Ensor and James, is too high. 

But they were a symptom of the near-constant pressure Blacks’ defence was under from the moment Robin Houghton scored a brilliant try before the break. 

A penalty count for the contest was fast-approaching 40 by the finish although referee Ben Moore’s display was as confused in the second-half as it had been controlled before it. 

That benefitted neither side, in truth, and it became a frustrating watch for a huge crowd – not a single point was scored during the first 33 minutes after the interval. 

In praise of Scott Davidson 

The impact made by the inside centre since his arrival from Waterloo in February cannot be understated. 

It was timed perfectly following a serious injury to James Underhill during a sensational semi-finals success at Sandbach in the Cheshire RFU Vase. 

Davidson has added a dimension to Northwich’s attack that they didn’t have; he cuts clever, and direct, lines at high speed and his size makes him almost impossible to stop once in full flow. 

And he is decisive; a try in the first-half on Saturday settled his side, and a forward charge saw him carry the ball deep into Birkenhead territory during a move that led to Houghton’s try. 

It is no coincidence the likes of Richard Dale and Joel Barber have greater freedom because he attracts attention from defenders. 

Martin Poste delivers more success 

Northwich have now won the Cheshire RFU Vase twice, in 2017 and again two years later, since he was appointed director of rugby in 2015. 

They were also promoted as South Lancs/Cheshire Division One champions at the end of his first season in charge. 

A fourth-place finish in North One West this time around, after ranking third in each of the two previous years, represents remarkable consistency on the field. 

His win ratio, now at 73 per cent after 80 wins in 110 competitive matches to date, speaks for itself. 

There are challenges ahead; a distance to the promotion play-off place in North One West is 22 points with one match left. 

But for now the men from Moss Farm can savour another knockout victory.