NORTHWICH have dropped to second from bottom in Regional North 1 West as a consequence of Saturday’s 18-7 defeat at Anselmians.

The bottom six, now cut off from the top six, are tightly packed and one win could see Blacks move up to seventh.

They will host sixth-placed Kendal on Saturday in their final game of the year.

The weekend’s visit to Anselmians proved to be a challenging one in many ways.

The weather was less than hospitable and there were several enforced changes to the Northwich team due to the absence of Logan Mitchell, Sam Patterson and the unfortunate pre-match injury to Tom Husbands who was stretchered off the pitch prior to kick-off.

On a positive note, Blacks welcomed back Liam Batt and Charlie Bancroft to the fold.

Anselmians took advantage of Blacks being offside with a penalty goal after just five minutes.

The next ten minutes then set the pattern for the match.

The home side had a clear game plan of keeping possession tight and attempting to wear the resilient Northwich defence down.

By contrast the visitors tried to play an expansive game but failed to look after possession effectively.

Nevertheless, it was Blacks who registered the first try which came from Austin Fernandez on a counter attack and Harry Naylor added the extras.

Fifteen minutes later Anselmians restored a lead they never lost.

A series of penalties gave the home side the opportunity to set up attacking lineouts. They peeled from a maul to score an unconverted try.

Both sides showed real character in trying to break the deadlock.

The pattern continued with Anselmians controlling possession and Northwich surrendering possession too easily.

The match turned when Jordan Clarke was forced to leave the pitch with a hip injury, resulting in Charlie Bancroft stepping into the unfamiliar roll of tight-head prop.

With the scrum now under pressure Northwich were unable to create the platform needed to make any significant attack.

With 25 minutes remaining an ambulance was required due to an injury to one of the Anselmians team, with the unfortunate situation meaning the remainder of the match was played on an adjacent pitch.

When the match resumed Northwich were pinned in their own half and could not shake off this stranglehold.

On the 60-minute mark a scrum close to the Northwich line proved impossible to stop with the result being a converted try to Anselmians.

The remainder of the match was all about Northwich trying to break out of their half with little success and Anselmians controlling possession.

The final score came on the 80th minute with Anselmians kicking a penalty when Northwich were adjudged offside.

Northwich (15-9, 1-8): Taylor Haugh, Austin Fernandez, Boitumelo Tsatsane, Zac Richardson, Eli Brizendine, Liam Batt, Harry Naylor, Jordan Clarke, Eon Du Preez, Rory Leijdekkers, Patrick Douglas, Tom Clark, Jonny Pym, Joe Christian, Richard Dale. Replacements: Andre Nell, Charlie Bancroft.