THE conditions at Birkenhead Park were ideal for rugby. The sun was shinning on a superb playing surface and all was in place for a great contest.

The fall out from the previous weeks encounter with Sandbach gave Martin Poste some headaches. Tom Clarke and James Wood both suffered long term injuries and were added to the growing list of absentees, which included Baldwin, James, Davidson, Houghton and Chris Bradshaw.

On a positive note the blacks welcomed Dave Ellis to the fold and Chris Dale following work commitments.

The match began well for the blacks as BP received the ball from the kick off and went on a series of charges.

The ball was moved wide and a kick was charged down by Richard Dale who chased the ball to touch down for the first try after just 2 minutes.

The response from BP was swift as they went on the attack.

Looking after the ball they created multiple phases before finding the gap to score a converted try and take the lead on the 7th minute. Just 5 minutes later it was the turn of Northwich.

Following a scrum the ball was moved to Richard Dale whose cross field kick found Husbands who finished off a fine with a fine score to reestablish the lead.

The next 10 minutes proved to be an arm wrestle with BP controlling position but finding no way through the Northwich defense.

The visitors went on the offensive and pressured the BP line showing patience in possession a gap finally appeared for Barber to exploit and extend the visitors lead. On the 30th minute BP closed the gap following a well controlled lineout.

A good build up enabled the home side to move the ball wide for a score in the corner. Five minutes later verbal ill discipline gave BP an easy shot at goal for them to retake the lead.

As the first half entered stoppage time BP applied some real pressure to the blacks scrum and when the ball was moved the gap appeared for a converted try giving them a seven-point lead at the break The second half was a much tighter affair with the home side slightly more in control. They extended their lead with two penalties on the 47th and 60th minute.

However it was on the 65th minute that the decisive blow was delivered when the home side scored a converted try. With the match drawing to a close the blacks showed real character pressing the home line until Richard Dale finally forced himself over the line to secure a well deserved bonus point.

Despite the loss Martin Poste was pleased with his charges with notable performances from Williams, Heywood, Naylor and new boy Ellis. Looking forward Poste hopes to have a number of absentees available for consideration for the visit of Burnage to Moss Farm next Saturday.

Next week Northwich entertain Burnage KO 3pm 1 Mike Bradshaw 2 Fraser Dodd 3 Ben Ridgeway 4 Chris Heywood 5 Dave Ellis 6 Matt Ensor 7 Chris Dale 8 Phil Williams 9 Matt Poste (Capt) 10 Richard Dale 11 Tom Husbands 12 Sam Naylor 13 Joel Barber 14 John Harrison 15 Hayden Skinkis 16 Mark Thompson 17 Jack Baille18 Richard Hart 19 John Harrison 20 Elis Vickery