THE scoreline at Moss Farm on Saturday belied Northwich's abundant spirit.
But it was yet another hefty defeat to deepen their relegation worries and Northwich may need more than spirit to turn their season around.
The result increases the pressure on the team to do well this Saturday against fellow strugglers Southport.
Northwich began in a bright and positive manner. They were first to the ball and had a significant amount of possession. However, they were over ambitious trying to run from deep in their own half and from a lot of turnover ball a penalty was conceded in the 10th minute which Rochdale kicked to the corner. The ensuing lineout produced a well-controlled driving maul that could not be stopped and led to the first try, which was duly converted.
Northwich steadied the ship and appeared to be back on track until Roch-dale attacked from a lineout in their own half of the field and following a series of missed tackles they scored under the posts, which was again converted.
Once again the home side rallied and on 20 minutes were given a penalty which Chris Dale failed to convert. Northwich then lapsed into a period of ill-discipline during which time Roch-dale were well on top. Just before the break Aussie Nick Blake was sinbinned following a series of altercations with his opposite number and resolute defending kept Rochdale out for the remainder of the period.
On the point of half-time there was a collision between John Brotherton and Chris Heywood and Brotherton was taken to hospital for stitches in a cut to the head.
With Blake still in the sinbin Northwich were stretched. Rochdale took immediate advantage and scored a try in the corner which was again converted.
The visitors piled on the agony with an easy penalty before Blake was reinstated and Northwich entered their best spell. The forwards took control and a series of drives produced a line-out close to the Rochdale line.
Northwich began a maul and looked certain to score but the maul collapsed leaving Blake dazed and unable to take any further part in the game.
Two late tries from broken play merely added to Northwich's woes.
Northwich 2nds went down 19-13 through a last-minute try at Chester. Andy Cornes and Mark Johnson scored tries.
Junior Results: Northwich Colts lost to West Park 24-14 (Mike Bradley, Robert Stagg tries; Craig Millington cons); U14s lost in the Cheshire Cup to Wilmslow 41-7; U13s ko'd Congleton in the Cheshire Cup 46-5, Chris Bridle scoring the try of the match; U12s lost 48-0 and 14-0 in two games against Wilmslow; U11s beat Wilmslow 21-0 (Sam Jones 2, Sam Hunt tries; Hunt 3 cons) and Trafford 28-7 (Danny Howman 2, Joe Maddocks, Sam Jones tries; Sam Hunt 4 cons); U7s lost to Wilmslow 6-5 and to Trafford 6-4, with Matthew Thomas and Alex Ellison sharing all the Northwich tries.