A DEPLETED Northwich Rugby Club squad suffered their heaviest defeat this campaign when they were thumped 81-5 at title favourites Lymm.

It was like the clock had been turned back one calendar year when an understrength Northwich side would be on the receiving end of similar scorelines but those brave enough to step up from the second and third strings put in a very committed performance.

Shorn of six first-team regulars, with Craig Fortune, Andy Outram, Tim Wilson, Jack Bailie and Chris Blower stepping in at the last moment and playing on an unaccustomed 4G pitch, Lymm had a huge advantage in front of a huge and expectant home crowd.

However, despite the odds being stacked against them, and losing inspirational Kiwi scrum half Liam Batt late in the first half, Blacks never gave up in the face of a dominant home performance.

Head coach Sammy Naylor summarised: “Those lads who stepped up, to help the first XV, put in a brave, committed performance – a typical gutsy display that they all should be proud of.

“It didn’t help when we lost Liam Batt to a bad rib injury before half time and he could be out for the rest of season. But the pleasing aspect for me was the way we never gave up and the way the lads refused to give up was very encouraging for the future.”

By half time, Lymm were 50-0 up and the travelling Moss Farm faithful who braved the wintry conditions, were not only suffering from watching Blacks being rolled over, but fearing that they could be on the receiving end of a three-figure defeat.

As it was, Naylor rallied his troops at the break with an inspirational pep talk and the players responded with a much-improved competitive performance, restricting Lymm to 31 points in the second period, 12 of which came in the dying moments in the game.

Tom Husband, playing at full back, charged down an attempted clearance kick and collected the loose ball to race away and score Northwich’s only points.

Next up for Blacks is the final league match of the season against Stockport at Moss Farm. on Saturday, kick-off 3pm.