HOCKEY: RAGGED Crewe Vagrants produced a late burst to stay in their promotion race on Saturday, but failed to hold on for cup glory on Sunday.
The Crewe side are struggling to find top form at the moment, and desperately needed a victory on Saturday to keep pace with Division Two West leaders Bolton.
They managed it, but it was only when Dave Holland and Andrew Ash-worth hit the net late on that they could be confident of maximum points against lowly Formby 2nds.
Vagrants got off to a decent start when Tim Alexander pounced to slot home on 11 minutes, after Henry Weir's effort had been kept out.
On 19 minutes Weir stabbed home from Holland's pass in the second of two slick short-corner routines to double Crewe's lead.
But the visitors hit back with a corner move of their own to halve the arrears. Intense Formby pressure followed, and Nick Marshall and keeper Adam Shenton both cleared off the line.
On the stroke of half-time a fluent move involving Holland, Weir, James Capper and Ashworth set up Alexander for his first of the afternoon.
Crewe were in control after the re-start, but repeatedly lost possession and the pendulum swung again. Formby threw everyone forward and made it 3-2 after a flurry of attempts.
There were nervous moments as Crewe stuttered, but Holland hammered in from a corner and Ash-worth netted from close range to make it 5-2.
On Sunday, the Vagrants went into a 2-1 half-time lead at Henley in the HA Trophy Round Four, thanks to efforts from Gary Roberts and Jon Woodhart.
But the Middlesex, Berks, Bucks & Oxfordshire League Division One leaders cracked the Crewe resolve in the second period to knock out the visitors.
A Crewe spokesman said: 'It was a sad cup exit after a valiant display against skilful opponents which deserved far better reward.'
Crewe seconds cancelled their game at Daten, and will be deducted six points. The 3rds, who beat Bowdon 5ths 2-1, and the 4ths, who lost 8-0 to Wrexham 3rds, will have three points taken away for the cancellation.
Fourth-placed Crewe Ladies 1sts made hard work of their clash with second-placed Kirby Stevens but ran out 3-2 winners.
An unstoppable shot from Lou Crosbie gave Crewe an early lead, and Kim Jones set up Dionne Johnson for the second soon after.
Johnson bagged her second when Ruth Kennedy picked her out, making it 3-0 at the break. But Kirby came storming back, notching two quick goals to leave Crewe wobbling. But they dug deep to win by a single strike.