Broughton Park 19 Northwich 14
NORTHWICH face a relegation dog fight after, not for the first time this season, losing a game they should have won.
Northwich were 14-10 up at the break on Saturday only to lose their shape and allow the prolific goal kicker Ronan O’Brien to slot over three second-half penalties to keep Broughton in the chase for promotion via the play-offs.
O’Brien opened the scoring after ten minutes with a penalty and five minutes later matters got worse when flanker Pete Pattenden was sent to the bin for killing the ball.
UP: Fortunately Broughton opted for a scrum which they failed to win and the counter attack resulted in a penalty for Stacey Hosking. Pattenden was still off the pitch when further Northwich pressure gave Hosking his second penalty to put the visitors in the lead.
DOWN AND UP: The lead swapped hands through an Adam Knight try and O’Brien conversion and swapped back again in injury time when another Northwich driving maul gave Fred Taylor the touch down, though Hosking missed the conversion.
DOWN AGAIN: Northwich lost their shape after the flagging Graham Robinson was substituted. Despite Broughton, at different times, having two of their players sent to the sin bin they could not maintain their forward domination and the three second half penalties from the gifted O’Brien decided the issue.
Northwich host second placed Stockport on Saturday (2.15pm).
Northwich 2nds lost 16-7 to Crewe and Nantwich. Ross Walker scored a try and Ricky Evans converted.
The 3rds completed a black day all round after receiving a thumping at Liverpool St Helens 40-3.
Other scores: U14s – Whitchurch 44 Northwich 5 (Gavin Vaughan); U11s – Northwich 21 (Michael Callaghan 2, Oliver Rutter tries; Callaghan, Luke Burmal 2 cons); U7s Northwich 5 (Morgan Brown 2, Ben Callaghan 2, Kyle Clarke) Macclesfield 5; Northwich 0 Macclesfield 6.
Vale of Lune 43 Winnington Park 17
WINNINGTON lost a crucial relegation battle, but at least their pride survived, on Saturday.
It was a bruising encounter and, while they lacked the necessary quality, injuries took their toll.
They lost Rob Garbett to a suspected broken ankle, Will Burgess who was knocked out after taking an accidental boot to the head and Harry Stubbs who played through the pain barrier with a shoulder injury. They played most of the last quarter with 14 men.
Winnington were 21-0 down before creating chances for the outstanding Neil Welch and Carl Patterson.
Park threw caution to the wind in the second half and tested the home side’s desire and scored from short range through Ryan McKibben.
It was a comeback that did not last long as Vale went into a 29-5 lead before Park rallied more strongly through McKibben and Robbins.
Relegation now looks almost certain and relies on a string of wins for Winnington and no more than one more for Vale.
Winnington 2nds won at Didsbury Toc H 24-6 (Terry Jones 2, Matthew Cross tries; Gavin Kaye 3 cons, pen).
Matt Thurwell scored a try and a penalty, but Park 3rds crashed 31-8 at Burnage 2nds.
Burrows Hill hosts Cheshire v Yorkshire Under 17s colts on Sunday (2pm).
Other score: U13s – Knutsford 0 Winnington 56 (George Cooper 3, Elliot Reeks 2, Henry Baldwin, Michael Annells, Dan Payne, Jack Bond, Jack Seddon tries; Annells 2 cons).