DESPITE another heavy defeat on Saturday, there was plenty to be encouraged by for Northwich RUFC.

A tight first half saw them trail hosts Sandal 22-13, with Tom Husbands scoring all of Blacks' points.

His length-of-the-field effort was his side's first try of the new season, with his two penalties keeping them within touching distance at the break.

However, the second half was a different story as Northwich seemed to go to sleep, with four converted tries in 20 minutes killing the game as a contest.

Mike Gough finished off Husbands' break to at least get Blacks a second try, but the visitors faded and Sandal ran in another three scores to round off a convincing 71-18 victory.

Blacks welcome Billingham to Moss Farm on Saturday.