HOCKEY: VAGRANTS pulled clear of relegation trouble in the North League Division Two West thanks to a goalscoring Darling.
Crewe put recent poor performances behind them to hit Macclesfield for six, with Neil Darling netting a hat-trick.
A shaky start saw Macclesfield score twice within the first 18 minutes, either side of Darling's first goal of the game. But Vagrants finished the half level thanks to Dave Holland.
Jolted by their early problems, Vagrants needed a strong second-half performance and they produced one after a couple of nervy moments which needed Richard Slater to make two goalline clearances.
Vagrants went ahead for the first time through Andrew Ashworth and this proved to be the turning point.
Darling smashed home his second in the 51st minute and completed his treble six minutes later after being put through by Jon Beech.
Vagrants keeper Ravi Kaler made two brilliant saves from a short corner as the visitors rallied, but Crewe completed a much-needed victory two minutes from time when James Capper converted a short corner.
Vagrants visit Northop Hall this Saturday (1.30pm).
The seconds' weekend was even better, winning 12-1 at St Helens. Graham Cooke netted six times in the scoring spree, while Andrew Ticehurst helped himself to four and Rob Jepson two.
The Thirds, however, saw their run of 10 consecutive wins come to an abrupt end as they were hammered 9-0 at Oxton Fourths. They remain second in Division Six South going into their final league game at home to Sale Seconds (noon).
Crewe Vagrants Ladies 4 Dalston 0:
The Ladies returned to winning ways as two goals in each half saw them through. The breakthrough followed a darting run by Kim Jones and her cross found opposite winger Alex Tomlinson steaming in to steer a shot home.
Alice Whalley added the second from a short corner to put Crewe in control and, after seeing off Dalston's best spell, Tomlinson teed up Jones for the third. Captain Denise Tick sealed the win.
The Seconds lost 4-0 at Bowdon. They host Oswestry this Saturday (3pm).