NORTHWICH and Manchester produced an enthralling contest that proved to be nail-biting right to the final whistle, with Blacks running out 17-7 victors.

With the visitors sitting fourth in the table and Northwich struggling to find consistency, Manchester certainly started the day as favourites.

It was inevitable the man of the Match went to Taylor Haugh for his try-scoring contribution, but this was a team effort.

To a man this was a demonstration of excellent tackling, organisation, and commitment.

There is still a way to go but Blacks will be buoyed for the visit by Leek on Saturday, kick-off 2.15pm, and deservedly satisfied by this result.

There was a re-shuffle in the Northwich line-up which included the return of first XV coach Sam Naylor as well as the previously injured Jack Owens.

The contest began well for Northwich as they applied a lot of pressure on Manchester and Tom Husbands kicked a penalty goal.

After sustaining about five minutes of constant pressure midway through the first half the visitors floated a long pass towards the wing which Haugh deftly intercepted and sprinted 70 metres to score an opportunist try that Husbands converted.

Ten minutes later the visitors got on the scoreboard when, from a lineout, a gap appeared, and a converted try was the result.

As the half-time whistle approached there was a moment of controversy when a break from Blacks was finished with a neat one-handed back-pass which released Husbands to score.

However, the referee deemed the pass to be forward and disallowed the try.

There was no further score in the contest until the 80th minute, with Manchester enjoying most of the possession and territory.

For Northwich the half was more about what you do without the ball than what you do with it.

The defence was superb with bodies on the line throughout the half.

With the end of the match in sight Manchester had at least three opportunities to kick for goal but declined in favour of a scrum.

And with stoppage time approaching and Blacks centre Zac Richardson confined to the sin-bin, another choice to scrummage looked ominous for Northwich.

When Manchester moved the ball wide that man Haugh collected an interception with one hand and once again raced the length of the pitch to score between the posts.

Husbands added the extras and Blacks were able to play out the final moments to record a valiant win.

Northwich (15-9, 1-8): Taylor Haugh, Tom Husbands, Zac Richardson, Richard Dale, Jack Owens, Logan Mitchell, Austin Fernandez, Callum Hulbert, Eon Du Preez, Rory Leijdekkers, Sam Naylor, Patrich Douglas, Sam Patterson, Joe Christian, Jonny Pym. Replacements: Anthony Keller, Noah Mitchell, Liam Batt.