NORTHWICH visited Bowdon without talisman Richard Dale but buoyed by the return of Phil Williams who strengthened the squad by his appearance on the bench.

It had been a couple of seasons since the Blacks last visited Clay Lane and they were welcomed in fine style - but returned with a 38-12 win.

The weather was initially fine for running rugby, however this was to change as persistent rain became order of the day.

Northwich started the brighter of the two sides as they carried the ball well and deprived the home side of any possession.

However, Bowdon drew first blood when, against the run of play, they scored twice in the first quarter.

The first score came of a lineout that set up an attack and after a number of charges Bowdon found a massive overlap to score a converted try.

The second also came from a line-out with some sloppy defence punished.

The visitors started to assert themselves and after a period of sustained pressure a long pass found Kyle Clarke who registered the Blacks first points, with Baldwin converting.

As the half entered the last 10 minutes Baldwin exploited the gap and score a fine try that he converted to give the visitors a two-point lead at the break.

The second half started well for the Blacks with an early Baldwin penalty extending the lead.

The Northwich back row seemed to be first to every breakdown and man of the match Mike Bradshaw hungry to carry the ball to the opposition.

Tom Husbands collected a ball deep in the Northwich half and went on a run that finished close to the Bowdon line. The ball was moved swiftly for Naylor to capitalise and score leaving Baldwin to convert. On the 75th minute a solid scrum saw Naylor break the line to provide Tom Wood with the opportunity to score a fine debut try and ensure the Blacks a bonus point.

Northwich’s late pressure was rewarded when a neat Baldwin cross kick found the safe hands of Kyle Clarke whose converted try completed a fine afternoon.

This was a tricky encounter for Northwich and Martin Poste was pleased with the overall performance and believes the Blacks can kick on from this point.

Northwich entertain Firwood Waterloo on Saturday, KO 3pm.

Northwich: 1 Mike Bradshaw 2 Mike Gough 3 Mark Thompson 4 Chris Heywood 5 Patrick fray 6 Chris Dale 7 Sam Naylor 8 Matt Ensor 9 Matt Poste (Capt) 10 Nick Baldwin 11 Tom Husbands12 Tom Wood13 Scott Davidson 14 Kyle Clarke 15 Joel Barber 16 Shaun Burmah 17 Phil Williams18 Jan Cartman