NORTHWICH RUFC’S hopes of avoiding the drop look set to rest on this weekend.

On Saturday, they travel to Leek – the team directly above them in the Regional One North West table – for their final away game of the season knowing a win would take them out of the relegation places.

They currently trail Leek by a point, with bottom side Sandbach still very much alive – they sit level on points with Blacks.

Interestingly, Sandbach and Leek face each other in the final round in what could be a winner-takes-all clash, with Blacks due to host third-placed Blackburn on the final day.

Northwich were done no favours by high-flying Rossendale on Saturday, with the second-placed side running out 68-7 winners at Moss Farm to continue their pursuit of league leaders Macclesfield.

Despite the scoreline piling up against them, however, there was still plenty for Blacks to be pleased about on a day that started with a Vice President’s event that drew more than 100 past players from the Mid-Cheshire College era back to the club.

Rossendale opened the scoring inside the opening 10 minutes and things looked ominous when an interception try against the run of play doubled the visitors’ lead.

Still, Northwich pressed on and were rewarded when a well-executed lineout allowed skipper Rory Leijdekkers to drive over, with Harry Naylor adding the conversion.

Rossendale added a third try before the break to stretch their lead to 12 points, but there was optimism that Northwich’s positive first half would see them push their visitors all the way after the interval.

What followed, however, was Rossendale upping the ante and turning the screw, scoring seven unanswered tries to run out convincing winners.

Northwich: Taylor Haugh; Tom Husbands, Jack Owens, Logan Mitchell, Austin Fernandez; Liam Batt, Harry Naylor; Callum Hulbert, Fraser Dodd, Rory Leijdekkers, Anthony Keller, Patrick Douglas, Aaron Collins, Jonny Pym, Richard Dale. Subs: Zac Richardson, Sam Naylor, Jonny English