SANDBACH were dumped out of the Cheshire Vase at the quarter final stage by a determined Wirral side on Saturday.
The tie gave the Bradwall Road side the chance to pit their wits against old foes Wirral once again.
The two sides both operated in the South Lancs and Cheshire League Division One least season, before a reshuffle saw Sandbach switch to the Midlands League.
And it was the hosts who came out on top in wintry conditions. An early penalty allowed Wirral to take a 3-0 lead early on, and although a Stuart Butters penalty soon brought the scores level at 3-3, they never really looked back.
Another penalty put them 6-3 in front, and a unconverted try extended the advantage to 11-3 within minutes.
Sandbach lost power in the scrum when Gareth Caen went off with a suspected dislocated shoulder, and they were made to pay when the score moved to 18-3.
The visitors kept plugging away and Dan Massey went close before Tom O'Brien and Butters combined to allow James Brookes through for a try on his debut. This was not converted and the score at half-time was 18-8.
Sandbach's momentum was quickly nullified when a Wirral penalty put them further ahead, and, despite the efforts of the away side, Wirral ran in another late try to complete the scoring. Sandbach 2nds lost 36-12 at Marple 2nds.
Crewe & Nantwich 3rds 17 Littleborough 14
Crewe 3rds made the most of a rare slice of the limelight with a stirring second-half fight-back, on Saturday.
With the 1sts not playing, and the 2nds rained of, they took centre stage. But they seemed to suffer from stage fright early on, in their Halbro Cup third round clash with Littleborough.
Littleborough took the game to their hosts from the off, and won plenty of good ball from set-pieces. A turnover in mid-field on 20 minutes led to their first try, which was converted.
Further pressure told and the visitors took a 14-0 advantage in to the break. But a different Crewe emerged for the restart.
Using the forwards to make drive after drive, the back row of Kevin Greatbanks, Alan Hargreaves and Dave Curry won the battle on the ground.
On 46, minutes Tom Bell finished off a forward drive to pull the score back to 14-7 with the try being converted by Dan Parker.
Hargreaves went over in the corner to make it 14-12, and with five minutes left Stuart Banks drove over to secure safe passage to the next round.