NORTHWICH Rugby Club’s second XV development squad reached the semi finals of the Papa John Trophy when they overcame a plucky and determined St Edwards Old Boys 48–22 at Moss Farm on Saturday.

Hopes were high from the onset when the Blacks second string were camped inside the Merseysiders' 22 metres area for long periods and a big score looked on the cards.

The dominance by the home side was rewarded when they established a 12–0 lead within the first quarter of an hour through two tries by No.8 Rory Leidekkers, one of which was converted by skipper Harry Naylor.

However, the visiting Crosby outfit refused to roll over and managed to ascertain some decent possession which was rewarded mid-way through the first half when they scored a converted try.

The score jolted the home side and they responded when long-term injury absentee Alfie Sinclair raced 40 metres to score near the posts, giving Naylor an easy conversion to give his side a healthy 10-point lead.

Old Edwards Old Boys hit back almost immediately with their second try which went unconverted and it was Naylor who landed a 45-metre penalty to give the home side a 22-12 interval lead.

Shortly after the re-start, Blacks extended their lead with a penalty try but the visitors responded immediately with a converted try.

Stunned into action, Blacks scored their fifth try of the afternoon via centre Jack Owens, Naylor adding the extras before St Edwards Old Boys reduced the arrears with a penalty.

It was the visitors' last score of the afternoon though as they began to tire and the home side were able to add two further tries from Elliot Kelsall and Kyle Clarke, Naylor converting the penultimate try.

During the game, cheers could be heard from across the fence and hopes were high that arch-rivals Winnington Park would be hosting the Blacks second string in the semi finals but word soon filtered through that the Burrows Hill second string had drawn their encounter with Prenton. The Merseysiders progressed by virtue of being the away side.

Northwich second XV development squad will now travel to Prenton with confidence high of reaching the Papa John Final and adding the cup to their League title.