NORTHWICH grabbed the points they needed against fellow strugglers on Saturday to keep the danger of relegation at arm's length.
Ten minutes of class from import Kolo Fifitas ushered in try time for Northwich. He sped through the centre to set up Chris Dale for a long-awaited try which the ex-England youth player failed to convert.
Fifitas then scored two tries himself in quick succession. The first, which Dale converted, resulted from a well-taken lineout. His second try followed defensive pressure which brought about a dropped pass which Fifitas seized on. Northwich appeared to be cruising at 17-0.
Northwich's naivety and inexperience showed when Chris Dale and the Southport hooker were sinbinned after a melee and, as they were walking off, Chris James kicked the ball away and joined his team-mate on the sidelines. South-port registered their first points from the penalty.
Shortly after the break a nifty run from scrum half Steve Taylor gave Northwich what should have been an unassailable lead.
But Southport were somehow spurred on and they reduced the arrears via a Ben Swinson try. When Jonathan Simpson was yellow carded Southport's kick ahead let in Swinson again and they pushed Northwich all the way to the finish.
Other results: 2nds lost to Eccles 14-10 (Jony Whitby, Don Phillips tries); 3rds lost to Sandbach 19-17 (Chris Burmah, Tom Cobley and Tom Newport tries).
Saturday is a big day for Northwich when they entertain Warrington at Moss Farm.
It is also poignant as it is the same fixture, this time at home, when twelve months ago prop forward John Blower sustained the injury which has left him permanently paralysed.
Junior Colts beat Littleborough 62-0 (Dan Charmer 2, Howard Green 2, Andy Oultram 2, Dan Charmer 2, Mike Bradley, Rob Johnson, Drew Walker, Tom Stringer tries; Stringer 6 cons).
Under 15s lost to Caldy 52-12 (Richard Dale 2 cons, con); U13s lost to Caldy 17-15 (Underhill, Williams, Hart tries); Girls' Rugby Tina Tulloch scored the best of nine Northwich U14s tries in their 53-17 victory over Scunthorpe. Northwich U17s' teams drew with Scunthorpe and lost 24-0 to Ashton.