NORTHWICH made a false start to 2017, unable to stop their hosts from rallying to record a victory that had looked unlikely after an hour.

Blacks led 17-0 when Nick Baldwin added the extras to a try by Joel Barber, who glided over between the posts after scrum-half Matthew Poste and full-back Will Du Randt had combined in the build-up.

But Burnage, blown away during the return game in September after making a swift start, were not to be denied.

A catch-and-drive following a lineout resulted in Nick Scholes darting from the back of a rolling maul to score.

Rhys Evans converted.

Henry Gong then burrowed over from close range, another score improved by Evans, after the home team’s forwards again used their strength to make ground.

Evans then landed a penalty, awarded after a Northwich player had been caught offside, to restore parity with four minutes to go.

They clinched victory from a hard-fought contest’s final play, captain Ralph Lawson taking a quick tap before carrying the ball up field.

The ball was spun wide for Stuart Oldham, who burst through a gap in a tiring Northwich defence before sprinting to the line.

Evans’ converstion settled the outcome.

Northwich had been the better side before the break, opening their account inside five minutes when Baldwin landed a penalty.

They added to their advantage after quarter of an hour when Du Randt, after collecting a clearance kick, started a charge.

He passed to Richard Dale, who made further yards before a ruck was formed close to the touchline.

Poste, ever alert, spotted a gap in Burnage’s defence and ran 35 metres before touching down.

Baldwin’s task to convert from close range was a simple one.

Northwich attempt to recover at the first attempt when they host West Park, promoted with them from South Lancs/Cheshire Division One last term, visit Moss Farm this Saturday.

They ran out 70-10 victors, Blacks’ biggest win of the campaign to date, when the rivals met in October.

The St Helens outfit have lost their past four matches in North One West, including a narrow 33-29 reverse against Wilmslow last weekend.

Northwich | Hulbert, Vaughan, Mike Bradshaw, Smith, Heywood, Lindsay, Naylor, Chris Dale, Poste, Baldwin, Richard Dale, Underhill, Barber, Houghton, Du Randt Replacements Chris Bradshaw, Phillips, English Tries Poste, Barber Cons Baldwin (2) Pen Baldwin

Additonal reporting by Steve Wood