MOST teams, no matter how rich in talent, would struggle to cope with the absence of more than half-a-dozen starters.

But Northwich are nothing if not a determined bunch, and their resilience a deserved earned reward against opponents who have now lost their past six matches in North One West.

Martin Poste scribbled seven different names on the team-sheet to one he wrote out for a first meeting between the sides at Moss Farm back in September.

One of them was that of prop Michael Bradshaw, back at the club following a spell at National League side Wharfedale.

Kyle Lindsay, following a series of impressive performances for Blacks’ second string while he recovered from a long-term knee injury, returned too.

However it wasn’t until midway through the second period that Northwich made safe maximum points.

Rochdale had taken the lead when Aaron Howorth crossed the line wide on the right at the end of a cross-field move, although Oliver Coldman missed his conversion attempt.

A stalemate followed, during which the ball was almost exclusively in midfield, before Northwich notched their first try.

Sam Naylor collected the ball after an attacking scrum and passed to Nick Baldwin, who sent in Joel Barber for the simplest of scores close to the posts.

Baldwin added the extras.

Rochdale edged ahead again before the break, making the most of a numerical advantage after Naylor was sent to the sin bin as punishment for a high tackle.

Despite full-back Robin Houghton’s fine cover tackle to halt Howorth, he off-loaded for Coldman to touch down and establish a 10-7 interval lead.

Northwich replied shortly after the turnaround, when an alert Baldwin intercepted a loose pass before racing almost the length of the field to cross in the corner.

Coldman despatched a penalty to put Rochdale in front a third time at 13-12, but the hosts did not score again.

Lindsay stole the ball at a lineout and led a Northwich charge.

Possession was transferred to Naylor, and his decisive break led to Houghton scoring a fine try.

Baldwin kicked the extras, then slotted a penalty awarded for handling in the ruck.

The visitors, now able to relax, saved their best move until last.

Started by Naylor after he gathered a kick in Northwich territory, Blacks put together a series of phases until Baldwin won a foot-race to his own chip forward.

Northwich | Hulbert, Thompson, Michael Bradshaw, Smith, Heywood, English, Lindsay, Sam Naylor, Poste, Baldwin, Skinkis, Underhill, Barber, Chris Dale, Houghton Replacements Chris Bradshaw, Dudley, Edwin Naylor Tries Barber, Baldwin (2), Houghton Cons Baldwin (2) Pen Baldwin

Match report by Steve Wood