MIKE Penny’s face wore the widest smile at Moss Farm on Saturday afternoon, when Northwich made sure West Park’s latest visit was another miserable one.

Blacks included five regulars from his second-team squad, and they shone during a seven-try drubbing of the struggling St Helens outfit.

“In the past I’ve been asked why I spend time coaching on miserable nights for what some believe to be no reward,” he said.

“Well, now they have their answer.”

With a long list of names absent, and director of rugby Martin Poste switching Richard Dale to the back row, it may have felt like Northwich were vulnerable.

Instead they shut out an opponent for the first time since returning to North One West.

Nick Baldwin’s penalty kick after quarter of an hour soothed early nerves before Blacks notched a first try.

Matthew Poste’s kick was collected by Michael Bradshaw, who popped the ball to Liam Gavin.

He was stopped short of the line, but possession was recycled for debutant * Atherton to touch down.

Baldwin added the extras.

Richard Dale was next to cross the whitewash out wide, a trick he repeated before the interval after the ball had again been moved his way following an attacking lineout.

Blacks continued in the second period where they had left off in the first, securing a bonus point when Bud Skinkis added a final flourish to a stylish team sequence.

He doubled his personal tally shortly afterwards, catching Baldwin’s perfectly-weighted cross-field kick after an interchange between Dale, Robin Houghton and Rhys Edwards had set the move in motion.

Baldwin kicked the conversion too.

There was time for two further scores before the final whistle, first from an attack launched by Dale after he collected a loose ball.

Bradshaw made further ground before inviting Joel Barber to sprint to the line.

The same duo laid a foundation for Blacks’ seventh try, this time the marauding prop creating space with a side-step before feeding a supporting Barber.

Baldwin’s kick provided further polish.

St Benedicts visit this Saturday.

Northwich | Phillips, Thompson, Mike Bradshaw, Dudley, Gavin, Lindsay, Atherton, Richard Dale, Poste, Baldwin, Skinkis, Underhill, Houghton, Edwards, Barber Replacements Keller, Fortune, Bates Tries Atherton, Richard Dale (2), Skinkis (2), Barber (2) Cons Baldwin (3) Pen Baldwin

Northwich Guardian:

Full-back Joel Barber charges towards the try-line during a comfortable 44-0 win for Northwich agains West Park on Saturday. Picture: Ken Houghton