A BRACE of second-half tries by substitute Craig Ross and a last-ditch effort by Neil Dowridge helped Caldy keep the scoreline very respectable against National Two North League table toppers Macclesfield at Paton Field.

Macclesfield with forward ascendancy were clearly the better side as they completed a double but the Caldy display especially in the second period was most praiseworthy before they went under 29-47.

The East Cheshire outfit took just five minutes to open their account with a push over try via Ryan Parkinson converted by Tom Eaton.

Caldy knotched a penalty from the boot of Richard Vasey before Chris Kohler chased a searching high kick for an opportunist try on 17 minutes.

Macc responded within five minutes as Jack Baxter touched down after Caldy lost their own scrum. Eaton’s goal made it 8-14.

The visitors added further tries through Jordan Brookes and Eaton plus two Eaton goals to lead 8-28 at the half way stage.

It looked ominous for Caldy as they turned to face the breeze and another Brookes touchdown goaled by Eaton stretched the advantage to 27 points.

But Caldy always looked dangerous in possession. Ross raced 30 metres to cross the line on 49 minutes with Vasey converting but then a converted penalty try restored the Macc advantage.

Some great passing culminated in Ross going in again on the hour with Vasey adding the extras.

Parkinson came clear from a scrum for the last visiting try but Caldy had the last say as Dowridge put the finishing touch to some more lively home play in the last move of the day. Vasey added the extras.

Macclesfield now have a four points advantage as they seek an immediate return to National One.

Caldy are tenth after their 16th reverse.

The North One West title race opened up again as Birkenhead Park won and Wirral lost in the latest round of games.

Birkenhead cruised it 64-5 against lowly Altrincham Kersal but Wirral were edged out 28-34 at Warrington and now have just a one point lead.

Park scored tries via Dave Ibbotson (2), Danny Rich (2), Stu Brown, Gavin Scott, Sean Wooff, Sam Chidley, Colin Campbell and Lewis Williams with seven conversions from Dave Hall.

There would undoubtedly have been more home touch downs but for uncontested scrums having to be introduced for much of the second period.

Wirral picked up two vital bonus points at Warrington where two late scores from forward pressure tilted the balance the way of the Lancashire side.

South Lancashire/Cheshire One champions New Brighton eased to a 29-8 victory at Ashton on Mersey.

Luke Thompson converted a first-half try by Kati Tuipulotu and also struck a penalty for a 10- 3 advantage.

Later Tuipulotu went in again followed by a brace of scores for Joe Cardus. Thompson added two more goals before the home side had the last say with a deserved consolation touchdown.

Anselmians comfortably took the derby against Hoylake 36-7 but remain third in the division five points adrift of Northwich.

Luckless Wallasey restricted Orrell to a 23-0 success in Division Two. Port Sunlight were beaten 51-7 at Bowdon.

In Division Three Prenton saw off Oldershaw 40-3 and are third in the table. Ellesmere Port lie second following a 22-15 win at Capenhurst.

Oxton Parkonians finished 55-15 to the good against Helsby at Holm Lane.

The season moves into the last month with plenty still at stake.

Caldy have Preston Grasshoppers as visitors on Saturday. Birkenhead Park head to Vale of Lune and Wirral welcome Carlisle.

There are home commitments for Hoylake against Manchester and New Brighton against West Park with Anselmians on the road to Glossop.

Lower down the scale fixtures include Moore v Wallasey, Port Sunlight v Ramsey (Isle of Man), Ellesmere Port v Prenton, Helsby v Oxton Parkonians and Oldershaw v Trentham.