Village Spartans 29-31 Knutsford

CHRIS Isherwood's try from the final play of a close encounter at Village Spartans ensured Knutsford signed off for the season on a winning note.

They had trailed to spirited opponents before his late intervention, which secures for them fifth place in the North West Intermediate League's Division Three South.

There was little to choose between the rivals during the early exchanges when strong running from Howard Dunkerley and Tom Page was a highlight for Blues while Cam Smyth and Ted Cawson stayed solid in defence.

As the contest loosened up, the home team capitalised first when their centre dotted down after darting through a gap in Knutsford's back-line.

And they extended their lead after a clever kick-and-chase.

That served as a jolt for Blues, who responded with scores of their own.

Alex Malcolm benefitted from slick approach play featuring Dave Gol and the returning Clifford Alvarez before player-coach Chris Edmonds then built on sterling work by the forwards to bulldoze over from short range.

Their ascendancy was evident too when Spartans chose to kick at goal after they were awarded a penalty to establish a narrow interval lead.

Blues freshened up their side for the second-half, sending on replacements Jan Michelob and Dan Jones while stalwart Gregg Sawyer bolstered them up front.

Spartans initially assumed control, and their speedy centre continued to cause problems as the sides traded tries.

Edmonds sprinted from inside his own half after intercepting a loose pass to claim his second score of the afternoon before Malcolm did likewise at the end of a collective move to cement his position at the top of Knutsford's try-scorers' table.

The visitors had to absorb pressure after Alvarez was sent to the sin bin for a cynical foul, but one final team effort propelled Isherwood to the line.