Wigan St Patricks A 6 Latchford Albion 32

HEAD coach Lee Smith was pleased with how his Latchford Albion side shrugged off the blow of being relegated back to Division One of the North West Men’s League by opening their season in style.

Albion finished in a position of safety in the Premier Division last year, but the league upheld an appeal from Ashton Bears and they were demoted from the top flight.

However, their campaign to bounce back began in style in torrid conditions as they belied the first-half dismissal of centre Cain Hillen for fighting to record a victory.

Fraser Jones-Clarke, Michael Smith, Adam Wood, Craig Mather, Sean Boyle and Stuart Simm crossed for tries, while Boyle added four conversions to his points tally.

“As a club we could have taken it (relegation) as a huge blow to our ambitions and long-term plans,” Smith said.

“This week we proved that the mindset is starting to develop to the level we require it to be as a squad.

“There was some massive efforts from everyone we went down to 12 players, but we kept to the game plan with everyone committed to the cause.”

Albion’s Alliance side also made their debut in Division Five and came up agonisingly short of victory at Aspull New Spring Lions, with Jack Ashton and Darren Hill scoring their tries in a 14-12 defeat.

Latchford welcome Walney Central to Victoria Park on Saturday, while the Alliance side make the short trip to neighbours Rylands Sharks. Both games kick off at 2.30pm.