NORTHWICH Rugby Club first XV start a new home chapter on Saturday against a side that lost 190-0 at the weekend.

Bottom-of-the-table Kirkby Lonsdale were smashed out of the park as they conceded 30 tries to promotion-chasing Blackburn, while Northwich were beginning life without director of rugby Martin Poste and forwards coach Steve Dorrington who stepped down from their roles in midweek last week.

The Cumbrians, who will be relegated at the end of the season, visit Moss Farm having conceded 1,423 points and scored only 169 in their 19 losses in Regional One North West.

The only consolation for Kirkby Lonsdale was that it was not a world record defeat, a record which stays in Denmark where Comet defeated Lindo 194-0 back in 1973.

Northwich should be near full strength for the contest except for talisman centre Martin Austen, who is returning to South Africa for personal reasons.

Depleted Blacks were on the wrong end of a heavy scoreline but produced a much-improved performance from their previous trip on the road in losing 44-17 to mid-table Wirral.

Shorn of 10 first-team squad members, and with Poste and Dorrington standing down in the lead-up following the inept performance at Kendal the previous weekend, it was hardly surprising Blacks would be facing another hard day at the office.

The handful of Moss Farm die-hards who travelled to the Wirral peninsula witnessed a reshuffled team struggle against a full strength and committed home side but stand-in coach Rich Querrelle was impressed with a much-improved commitment from his team.

Querrelle, a former Blacks scrum-half who played under Poste at Caldy, said: “Although I’m disappointed with the final result, especially conceding two late tries, I thought the commitment shown by everyone who took to the field was a big improvement on last week’s showing.”

Northwich started the stronger of the two sides and their early dominance was rewarded after five minutes when Tom Husband landed a penalty to put his side 3-0 ahead.

However, the remainder of the first half saw Wirral slowly take control.

Despite Northwich on several occasions having ample possession, they were unable to find a way to breach the home side’s stout defence.

Instead, Wirral were able to take advantage of some lax defending by Northwich and by half time had scored three tries, only one of which was converted, plus a solitary penalty.

It took Wirral eight minutes after the re-start to extend their lead by a further seven points with a try scoring bonus score but at 27-3 the Blacks spirit came to life.

After 17 minutes of the visitors competing well, lock Paddy Douglas crashed over from close range with Husband adding the extras.

A lapse in concentration in defence saw any hopes of further closing the gap quashed when the home side’s right wing finished off a nice passing move.

Northwich refused to give up and their efforts were rewarded on 67 minutes when centre Scott Davidson made a barnstorming charge through the Wirral defence, and scrum half Rich Dale was able to find stand-in skipper Rory Leidekkers who charged through a gap to score.

However, Northwich’s possible fatigue was cruelly exposed as the hosts scored two unconverted tries in the final stages.

Afterwards, Querrelle praised the commitment of all his players but singled out hooker Kyle Lindsay for producing the best overall performance.

Querrrell also singled out Craig ‘Cookie’ Fortune for stepping up to the first team at the last moment.

He said: “Cookie showed what this club is all about.”

“He has been an integral part of the second XV development squad all season and was looking forward to helping his teammates win the league championship at Heaton Moor. Instead, he stepped up to help the first XV in their hour of need.”

In Cookie’s absence, captain Harry Naylor led Northwich second XV to be crowned champions of the Halbro NOWIRUL Division 3 South title when they overcame a strong Heaton Moor 14-5.

Try scorers were Charlie Bancroft and Johnny Pym with skipper Naylor converting both tries.