NORTHWICH slipped to their second successive surprise defeat on Saturday.
They might have expected to beat Birchfield, who are below them in the South Lancs and Cheshire Second Division, but Northwich were uninspired. The absence of number 10 Chas Wood and flanker Gary Evans only goes part way to explaining their problems, and it will be up to coaches Steve Woods and Jan Cartman to get them quickly back on track.
Birchfield scored two converted tries in the opening period to North-wich's two Carl Senior penalties. Another try and goal by the visitors stung the home side into life in the late stages when they found time for another Senior penalty and a try by Mike Gallimore.
Senior converted but Northwich did not threaten to rescue the game in the final five minutes.
Captain Rob Heath was MoM, but no-one copied his example.
Don Phillips, the 2nd XV manager, led his side to a 51-0 romp at Birch-field. Dave Farley 2, Jamie Gleave 2, Kirt Whitby 2, Jonty Whitby 2 and Neil White scored the tries, Jason Chrison three conversions.
Northwich 3rds won at home to Helsby 58-3 with tries from Jonjo Burdon 2, Ollie Watts 2, Brian Williams 2, Peter White, Andy Lawless, Tony Newport and Tim Pickering and four conversions by Pete Davies.
Saturday v Wilmslow, 1st home, 2nds away, 3rds away v Trafford MV (all 2.30pm).
Northwich's Junior Colts won at Burnage on Sunday 33-17 (Mitchell, Platt, Eaves, Thompson, Steele tries; Heptinstall, Johnson cons).
Northwich hope their revived links with Mid-Cheshire College will payoff.
The Moss Farm club started life as the MCC in 1969 and now the college has a rugby team again, coached and aided by Northwich.
Chairman Sam Naylor said: 'We have done an immense amount of work in schools. Now, with any luck, more senior players will come into our club.'
College lecturer Glen Hulse and Northwich vice-chairman and coach Trevor Rawling are behind the new team, which plans regular Wednesday afternoon friendlies and is in need of more players.
MCC students wishing to join can contact Hulse on Northwich 720505 or skipper Joe Ellis on 07760 251308. Soon they hope to be playing regular Wednesday afternoon fixtures against other colleges.
Making their bow in a sevens tournament at Blackburn were Ellis, Will Thompson, Jamie Blunden, Chris Steele, Mitchell Platt, Adam Thomas, Tom Ventrie, Richard Jones, Ashley Dawson, Kris Hind and Paul Eaves.