Points secured at Stockport
A bonus point win,
Stockport 15 Northwich 34
Northwich trvelled to Headlands Road in the knowlege that a defeat woul mean losing touch with the leaders. Despite the two week lay off there were still some changes required due to availability. Dudley ,Houghton, Lapniewski and English to name a few. However, this presented Martin Poste the opportunity to introduce James Montgomery and Jonathan Dean to the squad. While the pre-match lunch was taking place the heavens cleared to reveal some sunshine and give all the supporters a lift.
During the opening minitues Northwich looked like they had not played fro some weeks. Ball retention and poor decision making gave the home side the initiative and on the 10th minute they took the lead with a penalty for not releasing in the tackle. The response was swift when 2 minutes later Baldwin struck a penalty for the blacks when Stockport were caught crossing. The first try came on the 23rd minute when the blacks collected the ball and went on the attack. During a frantic few minutes with the home defence stretched Baldwin produced a fine cross kick for Du Randt to catch and score. Baldwin added the extras and the battle resumed. Fort he next 20 minutes there was a stalemate but it was clear that Northwich were the more potent side. The back row of Dale, Naylor and Balshaw began to impose themselves on the match. As the half drew to a close the blacks won a scrum around the halfway line. A pick up from Naylor was followed by a neat pass to Barber who broke the line. when the ball was recycled Baldwin plassed a pefect kick for Skinkis to catch without breaking stride to score a great try. Baldwin was on target with the extras and it looked like the half would end with a healthy 14 point lead. Stockport had other ideas and came back strong. They were awarded a penalty close to the visitors line and with the ball secured they moved it wide to score in the corner. The extras were missed an the half came to a close.
The second half belonged to the visitors who played some of their best rugby of the season. The visitors extended the lead on the 50th minute with a Baldwin penalty. Five minute later the blacks began an assault on the Stockport line. for almost 5 minutes the Stockport defense held firm until, from a scrum Northwich drove for the line and from the recycled ball Reilly drove over to score. Baldwin added the extras and the match looked all but over. The bonus point was earned on the 75th minute. From a lineout a multi-phased attack began and ended when Baldwin went through a gap to score.a try and convert. With time running out the never say die Stockport produce a fine attack and with the blacks stretched they eventually scored a well deserved try. The conversion was missed and the match was brought to a close.
Martin Poste was delighted with this performance and when asked for a man of the match failed to single anyone out as this was a team performance of the highest order.
On Saturday the blacks entertain Vale of Lune 2.15pm KO
Ridgeway, Lindsay,King, Farley, Heywood, Richard Dale, San Naylor, Balshaw, Poste, Baldwin, Skinkis, Reilly, Underhill, Du Randt, Barber, Dean, Thompson, Montgomery