Northwich 32, Birkenhead Park 6

BIRKENHEAD Park slumped to their heaviest defeat of the season at Northwich at the weekend as their run of poor form continued.

Park were never really in the hunt against their Cheshire rivals.

Poor tackling let Northwich prop Mike Bradshaw in for a try after 13 minutes with Nick Baldwin converting.

But ten minutes later, Northwich turned over Park possession.

Mark Thompson took full advantage to add a second home try.

Two penalties by Park full back Simon Mason gave Park hope.

But Baldwin hit one back for Northwich to give them a 15-6 lead at half time.

Park were unable to launch a serious challenge. They barely got out of second gear after the interval.

Nick Baldwin kicked another penalty at the beginning of the half.

But it was not until the final ten minutes that Northwich made the game safe.

Tries from winger Hayden Skinkis and flanker Sam Naylor were both improved by Baldwin.

It was a lacklustre display by Park with the exception of scrum half Sam Chidley, flanker Sean Mooney and prop James Millward.

Park's director of Rugby Martin O'Keefe is frustrated at his team's loss of form.

He said after the weekend's game: "We just weren't at the races today and it is difficult to take many positives out of the match.

"If we are to secure a play off position we need to revert to our pre-Christmas form".

Park remain in pole position for second place but Wilmslow have closed the gap to eight points.

Northwich are further point behind with just four games remaining.

There is no league programme this week.

Park will be looking to regroup for the next fixture at home to St Benedicts the following Saturday.

This match has now taken on must win status if Park are to challenge for promotion.