Blackbrook 20 Ashton Bears 6

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NORTH West Counties League champions Blackbrook opened their Domino’s Pizza NWML campaign with hard-fought win against difficult opponents.

Bears took the lead on 10 minutes when full-back Matty Melling scored following a good move down the right channel on the last tackle.

Melling also added the conversion.

But, midway through the half, Brook scored their first try of the new summer era.

When Dave Llewellyn sent Craig Littler away, Melling was on hand to produce a try-saving tackle.

However, Brook swept the play across the field following a quick play-the-ball, and Paul Fass had the space to cross the try-line. Stephen Parkinson’s difficult conversion attempt rebounded off an upright.

Brook then claimed the lead on the half-hour mark.

Second-rower Jon Glover made a typical barnstorming run to take play into Ashton territory before slick handling saw the ball swept to the right, where Dave Scott sent Fass over for his second unconverted try.

Then, in the final few minutes of the first half, Ashton looked likely to regain the lead.

However, the attacker lost possession as he plunged for the try-line and, within two minutes, Brook had scored again to open up an eight-point interval lead.

Scott was involved again, this time sending Kyle Smith on an unstoppable surge to the line, with Parkinson adding a difficult conversion.

Brook missed chances to add to their score in the opening minutes of the second period.

Chris Springford and Scott both made clean breaks only to be foiled by Ashton’s scrambling defence.

But Bears could not keep Brook out for long.

A Scott Lyon break led to Littler collecting the inside pass to score, and Parkinson again converted.

And Littler was unlucky not to claim a second-half hat-trick as he had two tries ruled out – one for a forward pass, the other for a contentious double movement.

Chris Springford was named the Tisdalls’ Man of the Match, with Craig Littler taking the AB Sundecks award.