CHESHIRE put up a great fight at Maccles-field against last season's County Champions, recovering from 21-0 to trail by a mere three points with 20 minutes to go.
As Lancashire had just had skipper Tim Fourie from South Africa sent off for punching, following one of several fracas between the forwards, an upset seemed to be very much on the cards.
However, Lancashire managed to rouse themselves and a penalty by full-back Amo De Jager saved the holders from embarrassment. Waterloo's springheeled John Broxson at scrum-half was a class act, looking sharp enough to challenge for the coming England Counties tour party, but his partner Warren Spragg was far less impressive, as were centres Chris Briers from Sale and Ian Voortman from Sedgley Park.
Cheshire won plenty of line-out ball, but Dan Naylor was a little vulnerable at full back, being at least partly responsible for two of Lancashire's four tries.
Fly-half Anthony Birley had an excellent all-round game, landing four penalties and two conversions.
Sedgley winger Ross Bullough broke away to score Lancashire's first try, which was followed by two from second rower Paul Arnold and a fourth from Preston's Oliver Viney, with De Jager improving three of them and adding two penalties.
Cheshire full back Dan Naylor popped up suddenly to lead their fightback, and Kettle got a second try, but most of their points came from Birley's two conversions and four penalties.