“A GAME of two halves” would be an appropriate way to describe this fixture as Northwich marked their first home game of the new season with a victory.

They had to do it the hard way, though – visitors Burnage had the better of the first half and went into the interval with a 20-10 lead at Moss Farm.

However, tries from Richard Hart and Joel Barber – plus the unerring boot of Nick Baldwin – ensured the game was turned on its head.

Blacks can now make the trip to Wilmslow on Saturday, kick off 3pm, with confidence renewed.

It did not look that way initially though as the hosts made the worst possible start by knocking on the kick-off.

From the resulting scrum, Burnage showed patient offensive force and eventually scored the game’s opening try.

A penalty extended the visitors’ lead before Blacks showed their hand thanks to Barber’s quick thinking.

After Burnage were penalised, the full-back caught the defence out with a tap penalty and he raced over the line, giving Baldwin the easiest of conversions.

Still, the visitors resumed control and were rewarded with a try built from a good lineout and smart handling.

The sides then swapped penalties before the break as Blacks turned round 10 points in arrears.

However, there was a noticeable difference in their play after the break. The scrummage was working well and they were able to build pressure.

It was a dominant set-piece that gave Blacks their reward as Hart exploited a gap for the easiest of scores.

Then, with 12 minutes remaining, the crucial score.

The ball went loose after some good Northwich build-up and Barber was on hand to touch down his second try of the afternoon and the Moss Farm men had the lead for the first time.

Despite a nail-biting finale in which both sides were reduced in number due to yellow cards, Blacks hung on for victory.

Northwich: Mike Bradshaw, Fraser Dodd, Mark Thompson, Chris Heywood, Matt Ensor, Shaun Burmah, Chris Dale, Phil Williams; Richard Hart, Nick Baldwin; Tom Husbands, Richard Dale, Scott Davidson, Sam Naylor, Joel Barber. Subs: Joe Laddle, Jack Baille, John Harrison