A MUCH-changed Bowdon side beat a spirited Fleetwood 35-19 to stay second in Lancs/Cheshire Division One.

With seven changes to the squad and several players playing out of position it was always going to be a challenge for Bowdon to start smoothly and Fleetwood took full advantage with an early penalty.

Bowdon looked to strike back immediately but they were forced into an early adjustment when centre Eddie Brady’s game ended with a suspected hamstring pull.

The home side's nerves were eased somewhat with a try following a break by number eight Mike Waddington that eventually led to scrum-half George Smith crossing the whitewash, with Jamie Anthony converting.

On 15 minutes Bowdon had a try disallowed for offside following a turnover at the scrum and they were again denied a score when they were held up over the line following a drive from a five-metre line-out.

To make matters worse Fleetwood pounced on a loose pass as Bowdon looked to move the ball wide to break away and run the length of the field to score under the posts and take the lead.

Bowdon’s problems eased when Nick Foster made a solo break and charged down the line to go in at the corner to make it 13-12 at the interval.

They took the opportunity at half time to make some positional changes and despite Fleetwood stretching their lead with a penalty, Bowdon took advantage as Anthony, now at centre, crossed from a short crash ball following a scrum penalty to take Bowdon back into the lead.

Fleetwood were not finished, though, and retook the lead with yet another penalty.

At this point, and with 20 minutes to go, Bowdon finally clicked in to gear and as if to make the point fly-half Smith picked out wing Foster with a cross-field kick.

Foster gathered on the full and completed the best move of the day to put Bowdon back into a lead they would not relinquish.

Replacement Ben Dilworth was denied a dream first touch as his try was disallowed for a double movement.

But the scoring was completed with tries from Dan Brown and a Smith penalty.

It was far from Bowdon’s best performance but given the number of absentees and injuries it showcased the strength in depth and competition for places the club currently has.