THIS year's Rylands Cup Final will between Sidac Reserves and Vicars Reserves, who earned their places in the final after two hard-fought semi-final victories last Saturday.
The favourites Sidac were given a thorough examination by Vulcan Reserves before winning 2-0.
And Vicars emerged victorious after a close-run affair by the odd goal in three. Sean Latham fired Vics into an early lead, stabbing home from close range after Moorfield Thirds failed to deal with a corner.
Derek Mullarkey then levelled for Moorfield to leave the tie poised going into the break. Vicars' winner was a coolly struck penalty by Brian Griffiths, the reward for constant second-half pressure.
Penlake recorded another vital win in their quest for a first Frontrunner Premier Division title, though they were given a fright by bottom side Fearnhead.
Two early goals by Steve Campion and Greg Clare should have set up a demolition but Fearnhead raised their game to match the leaders for the remainder of the match.
Fearnhead skipper Lee Howard hit the bar with a stunning drive but despite creating several chances Fearnhead couldn't find a goal.
Whiston moved second after leapfrogging Halebank in a 2-0 win.
Moore United recorded a fine 5-2 success at Moorfield to draw level with fourth-placed Vulcan, who were beaten 2-1 by visitors Downall Green United. Champions St Michael's stay in the title hunt with a valuable win at Haydock, a solitary goal enough to secure the win.
Monks Sports ensured their continuing presence at the top of the Grange Valley-sponsored First Division with a convincing 5-0 win over Avon Athletic.
The defeat was only the third of the season for Avon, who drop to fourth in the title chase. Rainhill Town also suffered a rare defeat following their visit to Cronton Villa, with the hosts winning 4-3 in a thrilling contest.
These results have enabled Monks to open a five-point gap at the top. Stockton Lane moved into the picture with a routine 2-0 home win over Greenalls St Oswalds, Danny Sisson claiming both goals.
Lane have a number of games in hand on the leading group but have a tricky run-in. Halton Borough's improvement continued with a 4-2 win over Silverbirch, to leave them four points clear of the foot of the table.
Blackbrook claimed the day's highest score with a 6-1 win over Runcorn Albion, including three from Kevin Picton.
Beechwood were pushed hard at Croft but held out to win 3-1 and retain top spot in Division Two.
Vidamour put Beechwood ahead and then Morris found the target for the leaders. Chadwick blasted a penalty for Croft to restore some hope before Gleave sealed the win with a neat chip for the third.
Culcheth SC in second place were in action at Windle LC, winning 2-1 to stay two points off top spot. Matthiola had fewer problems than anticipated, beating Bank Quay 3-1 to stay third.
Orford YC bounced back with a good performance to beat Mill Brow 3-1. Brow had taken the lead through Mike Colebrook but two goals by debutant Tony Norman and a single by Tony Darbyshire changed the out-come. Grange Safeway found a rich vein of goals to shock Lomax CC. Paul Barnett claimed a hat-trick and strike partner Mike Hayes a brace, to give Grange a 5-0 win.
The top match in Division Four between Fife Rangers and Runcorn Athletic ended all square with a sensational strike by Fife defender Chris Lester levelling matters.
Fife remain third, behind Athletic and second-placed Winwick United, who ran out comfortable 4-2 winners from their home game with Penketh United.
Andy Cannell opened the Winwick scoring with Darryl Brough netting a hat-trick. Finnegan and Cunliffe were Penketh's marksmen. Act R Sports can still figure in the end-of-season honours if they win their games in hand, their latest result a 3-1 win at rock-bottom Widnes Bayer.
Newton-le-Willows produced a five-star performance to smash Village Social by five goals to nil.
Just three games were played in Reserve Division One with the chasing teams using their games to close in on top two Ford and Sidac Reserves.
Rainhill Town emerged triumphant from their derby at Whiston Reserves, 2-1. Eagle Sports overcame Halton Borough but were pushed all the way before winning 5-4.
Mid-table Halebank proved too strong for Culcheth, winning 3-1, and Moorfield Reserves blew another chance to close in on the Reserve Division Two leading sides with a 3-3 draw against Cronton Villa handing further encouragement to second-placed Rainhill Town Thirds.
Moorfield are rapidly running out of matches to stay ahead as Town cruised to within four points of the lead with five games in hand. Rainhill produced an emphatic display to cut down Stockton Lane Reserves 5-1. Burtonwood continued their winning ways with a 5-2 over bottom side Widnes Bayer extending their recent surge up the table.
Fearnhead Reserves made hard work of their home game with Black-brook. The visitors missed an early penalty and were made to pay when Tom Daintith fired Fearnhead into a half-time lead. Johnny Burton headed a second from a long throw and Fearnhead were well on top. With time running out, Dodgson scored for Blackbrook to set up a nervy ending.
But Fearnhead held on to complete their first double of the season.
Just two games were staged in Reserve Division Three, with Fife Rangers Reserves romping to a 5-1 win over Grange Safeway Reserves.
Goals by Jamie Barnes, Wayne Jones and a fine hat-trick by midfielder Adam Griffiths secured victory for Rangers. Moore United Reserves wrapped up a useful 4-2 win over Orford YC to draw level on points in mid-table.