Northwich 25 Wilmslow 3
HOLDERS Northwich are ready to defend their Cheshire Vase crown after defeating familiar foes in the semi-finals on Saturday.
On the way to winning the trophy for the first time last season Northwich won the South Lancs and Cheshire League – something Wilmslow are also about to do.
But Northwich gave them a firm indication of the standard they must expect next term by dominating the tie.
TAYLOR-ED START: The hosts impressed from the start but it took until the 20-minute mark before skipper Steve Campbell sliced through the defence to set up Fred Taylor for the first score. Stacey Hosking, who is developing into a fine kicker, converted from wide out and five minutes later stretched the Blacks’ advantage with a penalty.
ALL OVER BAR... Northwich pretty much wrapped up the tie when five minutes before the break, a flowing three-quarter move set up Hosking for the second try of the game. The conversion hit the upright but at 15-0 down Wilmslow were out of it.
They scored through a Bob McCallam penalty and put Northwich under a spell of pressure, broken by another Hosking penalty.
The ever improving Richard Dale danced through the narrowest of gaps to sprint 50 metres to set up the supporting Chris Heywood for the try of the match. Hosking converted to give the Blacks victory and renewed confidence for their crucial league visit to bitter neighbours Winnington on March 29, KO 3pm.
The 3rds had no game.
Winnington Park 2nds 29 Northwich 2nds 9: Revenge was as sweet as it was unexpected for Winnington, on Saturday.
While they are fighting relegation, Northwich are chasing promotion after launching their campaign with a 41-7 win in the first meeting of the neighbours.
Paul Dean opened the scoring with Park’s first try, but Northwich were in front at the break via two Joel Barker penalties.
But a try from Terry Jones and a conversion and penalty by captain Gavin Kaye turned the game around.
Barker kicked another three points for Northwich, but Winnington were not letting go. Man of the match Richard Murdin and Peter Higson scored further ties, both converted by Kaye.
The result leaves Northwich looking vulnerable to Buxton’s challenge.
Winnington 1st XV are not in action until they host Northwich on Saturday week.
Other scores: U13s – Winnington 12 (Jack Bond, Jack Hodgkinson tries; Michael Annells con) Stockport 19; U8s v Wrexham – won 8-7 (Russell King 2, Jamie Thompson 2, Felix Pearson 2, Eddie Esling, Eddie Quinlivan); won 10-6 ( Dominic Carmichael 4, Joe Allcock 2, Daniel Luke, Tommy Gadd 3).