ROMANIAN international Dodo Muntean proved his class on Saturday with a superb kicking display that proved to be the deciding factor in a thrilling contest at Moss Farm.
Visiting rivals Lymm, proved worthy opponents and had their kicker, diminuitive winger Joe Knowles, had his kicking boots on then the 16-15 victory may have been a fantasy.
In what was brutal and very physical encounter, the Blacks started on the back foot as Lymm forced their way over the line with a drive-over, ex-Macclesfield prop Scott Harrison emerging as the scorer.
All of the hosts’ first-half points came from the boot of Muntean who notched two penalties and an audacious drop goal from inside his own half.
Knowles added a penalty of his own to give his side a narrow 10-9 lead going into half-time.
After the break, both sides continued to fight tooth and nail to hold their line but it was the Blacks that breached the Lymm defence as the evergeen Steve Campbell burst through to score after scrum-half Mike Gallimore made a break. Muntean crucially added the extras.
Lymm fought back and were rewarded with a try in the corner but Knowles’ conversion sailed wide of the uprights.
Gallimore was sent to the sin-bin for dissent but the determined hosts lasted the distance and scraped a vital two points.
Club chairman Sam Naylor said: “For both teams this was their hardest test so far and in the final analysis it was our sheer will and determination, particularly in defence, that saw them through.
“The team as a whole must learn to keep their discipline because one of these days it will be their undoing.”
This Saturday, Northwich visit New Brighton (3pm).
Winnington Park sent a depleted side to last season’s relegation rivals Wigan on Saturday and despite a late fightback were made to pay for early errors in a 25-21 defeat.
Without six first-choice players, Park were soon on the defensive in what became a hard-fought Cheshire and South Lancs clash.
After two basic errors were punished, Park found themselves 12-0 down early on.
Burrows Hill youngsters Mike Morten, Sam Brookes and Rob Birchall started to break the hosts’ line and soon were back in the game after two Chris Heptinstall penalties.
But as the first half entered its Old Traffordesque seventh minute of injury time, Park agonisingly conceded a try in the corner.
After the break, Heptinstall started the fightback with another penalty but against the run of the play, Park were back behind their line after Wigan’s number eight took advantage of some lacklustre tackling.
But to their credit, Park’s youngsters rallied and scored two tries in the final 20 minutes through Phil Parrot and Chas Cross.
It was too little too late though and Park will now hope to get back to winning ways at home to struggling Oswestry (3pm).