NORTHWICH ended up on the wrong side of a hard-fought match at Wirral.

No quarter was asked or given by both sides as Wirral ran out 15-7 victors.

Blacks travelled in the firm knowledge they would be facing much stronger opposition than they faced in the Cheshire Cup earlier in the season.

Following two disappointing matches against Stockport and Manchester, Northwich were keen to get back on track.

Blacks, who made a couple of late changes, looked the stronger of the two sides in the first quarter and were able to put Wirral under pressure.

Whenever the home side kicked deep Northwich returned with interest through the excellent work of full-back Taylor Haugh.

Northwich did have the chance to take the lead when an easy penalty kick was passed up in favour of a lineout.

The home side cleared the danger and with it took control.

On the half-hour Wirral were awarded a penalty for a high tackle, taking full advantage and a three-point lead.

That proved to be the only score of the half and despite the lack of tries it was an intriguing contest between two extremely committed teams.

Five minutes into the second half Wirral finally broke through the Northwich defence from a maul to go 10 points clear.

The war of attrition continued until the final 10 minutes when the home side picked up the ball from a knock-on and went on a counterattack.

Some smart work was concluded with a kick to the wing which resulted in a fine try. The extras went begging but the blacks were left with a mountain to climb which was unconverted.

There was a never-say-die attitude about Northwich and with five minutes remaining their reward came.

Wirral had a defensive scrum and moved play wide to line up a clearance kick which was charged down by Taylor Haugh who chased he ball to ground it for a try that was converted by Tom Husbands.

Northwich tried everything to get something from the match, but Wirral held out for a deserved win.

The coaches are now preparing the team for the visit of a resurgent Sandbach on Saturday, kick-off 2.15pm.

Northwich (15-9, 1-8): Taylor Haugh, Tom Husbands, Boitumelo Tsatsane, Logan Mitchell, Eli Brizendine, Jack Geraghty, Austin Fernandez, Gabriel Sipapate, Jordan Clarke, Rory Leijdekkers, Sam Patterson, Tom Clark, Joe Christian, Richard Dale, Eon Du Preez. Replacements: Anthony Keller, Patrick Douglas, Aaron Collins.