Helsby 5 Ellesmere Port 36

HELSBY’S miserable run of form in South Lancs/Cheshire Division Three continued on Saturday – but there were signs of improvement.

While the Chester Road strugglers were no match for their in-form neighbours, they could take heart from the spirit they shown in what was their fourth league loss on the run.

Port broke the deadlock early on, but their lead was wiped out moments later when Jim Gray picked up the ball from a maul and handed it on for Sam Crowther to put Luke Ryder away in the corner.

That sprung the third-placed visitors back into life and they took full advantage of an inexperienced back-row to roar into a 14-point half-time lead.

The hosts managed to maintain some pressure in the opposition half at the start of the second period. However the basic errors that littered their performance were punished by a Port side for whom James Shinton, Ant Jones, Pete Doyle (2) and James Callaghan touched down and Chris Carbutt added the extras.

Impressive youngster Ryder was named man of the match for Helsby, who face a big basement battle at Linley on Saturday.

Port head to Buxton while Capenhurst, on the back of their 31-5 reverse at runaway leaders Prenton, entertain second-placed Crewe & Nantwich.

Christleton suffered a narrow 26-24 home loss to Warrington 3rds in North West League Division Four West on Saturday.

Christleton head to Widnes 3rds this Saturday.