NORTHWICH knew what was coming, but could not stop it.

Instead they had to submit to a superior pack that unsettled them from the start.

Their players cut forlorn figures by the end, although Blackburn only made sure of the outcome by scoring twice during a spell when Richard Dale was in the sin bin.

The home team still deserved to win, and they have done now in 10 of their past 11 league games.

Their reaction on hearing the final whistle suggested they felt this was perhaps the biggest.

That is a compliment of sorts to Martin Poste’s men, although not one that will give the director of rugby much cheer.

He predicted beforehand that the game would be won, or lost, up front and he was proved right.

The visitors were given an early let-off when wing Harry Pilkington inexplicably knocked on when he was certain to score.

However they were helpless to prevent hooker Ed Sinclair from barging over at the end of a drive following a close-range scrum.

Northwich replied swiftly though, and captain Matthew Poste was rewarded for his quick-thinking when he darted through a gap in the hosts’ defence to restore parity.

Like Leon Fifield at the other end, Nick Baldwin could not add the extras.

The remainder of the half was a battle, and Blacks used their energy to contain their opponents.

Despite a total mismatch while scrummaging, they largely succeeded in that task.

However Fifield landed a penalty, harshly awarded against Richard Dale, to make it 8-5 at the break.

Poste sent on John Dudley afterwards to add ballast to his pack, although the pattern didn’t change.

Fifield twice kicked a three-pointer following infringements at the scrum, and Callum Hulbert was shown a yellow card before the second.

Blacks lost Tom King, another front-rower, to an injury – after James Montomgery’s involvement had already been curtailed in the first-half by a nasty cut to his head – and they reshuffled once again.

Dale’s caution followed five minutes after Hulbert’s return, and Burn made their extra man count.

They pushed to the whitewash following a lineout when James Henderson went over before substitute Joe Shorrock added another try, their third of the game, to move out of their guests’ reach.

Fifield’s conversion from out wide improved the second of those.

Northwich’s best period of the second-half followed, and they exploited space created by a Blackburn's Rob Bramhall being carded when Martin Balshaw gathered James Underhill’s pass before charging to the line.

Baldwin’s kick pinged against an upright.

It felt like an apt summary of Blacks’ afternoon.

While understandably dispirited by a defeat that ends a four-match winning run, they remain second in North One West and in control of their destiny.

Northwich | Hulbert, Lapniewski, King, Heywood, Farley, English, Balshaw, Richard Dale, Poste, Baldwin, Montgomery, Reilly, Underhill, Skinkis, Barber Replacements Dudley, Naylor, Fray Tries Poste, Balshaw