NORTHWICH recorded a 25-17 victory at Altrincham Kersal after the home club’s volunteers helped make sure the pitch was free of water after a significant amount of rainfall.

Director of rugby Martin Poste was delighted to welcome the Dale brothers, Matt Ensor and Phil Williams back the fold but had to do without the services of the mercurial Heywood who was away for the weekend.

Once again it was an ominous start for the Blacks as they failed to secure the kick off and handed the initiative to AK.

A penalty gave the home side an attacking lineout five meters out and Northwich were unable to contain the drive and a converted try gave AK the lead after just seven minutes.

The first 30 minutes almost entirely belong to AK as their big pack continued to put pressure on Northwich. During this period AK extended their lead when the blacks tried to force a penalty at the lineout by standing off.

This backfired as the alert AK forwards turned and carried the ball over for an unconverted try.

This seemed to galvanise the visitors as they started to gain more possession.

The back row lead by man of the match Sam Naylor started to ask questions of the home defences.

AK were caught offside and Baldwin was able to secure the blacks first points.

Northwich were beginning to take control and started to apply real pressure to the AK line.

As the half drew to a close Davidson made a decisive break and the ball was moved wide for Richard Dale to score a fine try which, was converted by Baldwin.

Giving just a two-point gap at the end of the half.

The second half saw Norwich grow in confidence and the quarter they delivered two tries.

The first was from a Chris Dale break and after making excellent ground he found fell back row Williams who took the ball and sprinted for the line.

To score a converted try giving the Blacks the lead for the first time.

The second try was an interception by Chris Dale who won a 65-metre foot race to score a fantastic opportunist try that went unconverted.

As the match entered the final quarter AK threw everything at Northwich and when they turned over a Black scrum they went on a charge to score an unconverted try and provide a fitting climax to a good match.

However, a Baldwin penalty with just five minutes remaining proved to be the final score giving the Blacks a hard fought victory.

Poste could not hide his delight and was particularly pleased with Patrick Fray and Kyle Clarke who acquitted themselves well and will provide Poste with some pleasant but difficult selection decisions.

On Saturday Northwich entertain Warrington, 3pm

1 Mike Bradshaw 2 Mike Gough 3 Mark Thompson 4 Matt Ensor 5 Patrick Fray 6 Chris Dale 7 Sam Naylorlark 8 Phil Williams 9 Matt Poste (Capt) 10 Nick Baldwin 11 Tom Husbands12 Richard Dale13 Scott Davidson 14 Kyle Clarke 15 Joel Barber 16 Joe Laddle 17 Shaun Burmah18 Aaron Collins