FOR an hour, Northwich made April fools of Blackburn in a meeting that was so one-sided it made you check the visitors had actually won the return game last November.

They did, and they demonstrated their quality during a final quarter that yielded a hat-trick of tries for full-back Leon Fifield.

By then Blacks were coasting and their display had turned ragged, particularly in defence.

It had been anything but during a dominant first half.

Richard Dale, playing on the wing, went over at the end of a period of sustained pressure on the Burn back-line.

Nick Baldwin converted.

A second try followed when, after Will Du Randt’s initial break, Blacks moved the ball wide for an overlapping Joel Barber to dash to the line.

The hosts, buoyed by a thrilling Cheshire RFU Vase semi-final success at Wilmslow seven days earlier, continued to force mistakes from their opponents.

Baldwin was next to profit, neatly side-stepping a defender to add his name to a growing list of scorers.

He added extras to his own try, making it 19-0.

A bonus-point was secure inside 26 minutes when Du Randt, given space into which he glided after receiving James Underhill’s pass, charged to the whitewash unchallenged.

Baldwin’s kick widened a gap between the rivals.

Blackburn troubled the scorer for the first time straight from the restart, Nathan Sewell feeding Jordan Annakie who powered over.

It proved a blip, and Du Randt doubled his personal tally when Northwich recycled possession after Jonny English made inroads into visiting territory.

Baldwin’s right boot remained reliable, and it was 33-5 at the turnaround.

Blackburn started the second period on the front foot, but their forays forward were repelled by a resolute defence.

Instead the away team fell further behind when wide man Bud Skinkis was opportunistic to catch a ball diverted into his hands by a marauding Richard Dale as he attempted to gather Barber’s pass.

Burn rallied, and Fifield strolled over before converting impressively from out wide.

It provoked a response, and Barber dotted down next to the posts after jinking clear of two attempts to stop him.

Richard Dale’s kick was a formality.

Director of rugby Martin Poste gave Sean Phillips, John Dudley and Underhill a breather, but a reshuffle that followed disrupted his side’s rhythm.

Their intensity visibly dropped and their guests – who had slipped to seventh in North One West after losing three of their previous four games – exploited an opportunity.

Fifield helped himself to a trio of tries, the pick of which was in the middle after Lawrence Nelson’s forward charge, which reduced the final deficit.

Northwich | Bates, Thompson, Phillips, Dudley, Smith, Heywood, English, Chris Dale, Poste, Baldwin, Richard Dale, Underhill, Barber, Skinkis, Du Randt Replacements Chris Bradshaw, Purbrick, Hart Tries Richard Dale, Barber (2), Baldwin, Du Randt (2), Skinkis Cons Baldwin (4), Richard Dale