Saturday 13th September 2014
Altrincham Kersal 31 Northwich 21
Northwich lost their first match of the season to a very strong Altrincham Kersal (AK) team. Although Northwich were affected by the absence of 5 senior players, it has to be said this would always have been a tough encounter. The absentees not only meant new faces to the team but also positional adjustments, which ultimately led to an imbalance it the side.
From the kick off the home side took a stranglehold on the match by turning over a Northwich attack and going on the offensive. AK opened their account on the 6th minute when they were awarded a free kick in the Northwich 22. They elected to take a scrum and following a pick up from the number 8 they began a charge. There was some uncharacteristic loose tackling from the Blacks and AK scored a try to take a 5-0 lead. Four minutes later they were on the scoreboard again. This time another conceded penalty gave the home side an attacking lineout. A neat move of the back of the line and despite a brave tackle the score could not be prevented. The conversion extended the lead to 12-0. At this point the Northwich faithful felt they would be in for a long afternoon as AK continued to control most aspects of the game. However there is a never say die attitude in the Northwich ranks and they rallied in an effort to get back into the match.
They were rewarded on the 35 minute; when after applying sustained pressure to the AK line they had a lineout close to the home sides try line. With the ball won there was a controlled drive towards the line and the ever young Cartman crossed for a well earned score. Within one minute of the restart Cartman was show the yellow card for deliberately killing the ball in the re zone. With the man down AK sensed the opportunity. They stole a Northwich lineout and simple move left an opening for the home side to re-gather the initiative and take a half time lead of 19-5.
The killer blow came after 4 minutes of the restart. A quickly taken penalty was met with some indifferent tackling and a looping pass saw the AK winger score a try that was converted leaving the Blacks with a mountain to climb. In an effort to get back into the match the Blacks elected to kick the next two penalty opportunities and on the 49th and 52nd minute Dutoy added 6 points to the tally. At this point the Blacks sensed a recovery was possible and a move off the back of a scrum Naylor made a decisive line break and offloaded to Barber, the ball was recycled and once again Naylor collected the ball. As he made progress forward he passed to Andy Chubb who had picked an excellent line to score in the corner. With 20 minutes remaining it looked like the visitors could get something from the match. However in an effort to force the situation the ball was turned over by AK and they went on the offensive.
They were awarded an attacking scrum and when it was wheeled a gap opened and following a series of impressive offloads they scored an unconverted try. With virtually no time left Simes gathered the ball in the Blacks 22, throwing caution to the wind he went on a mazy run and found Naylor in support he in turn found skipper Chris Dale inside who sprinted 40 metres to score a great try with the conversion missed the match was brought to a close and the Blacks returned to Northwich with nothing for their efforts.
There was a great deal to learn from this match which will make the Blacks stronger as the season develops. AK do look a strong outfit and although it is early day they will be one of the front runners for the rest of the season.
The next match for Northwich is at Moss Farm against Liverpool St Helens KO 3pm
Cartman, Thompson, Hulbert, Smith, Gavin Heywood, Naylor, C. Dale, Taylor, Dutoy, Edwards, Barber, Chubb, Wilson Simes, R. Dale , Fallows,