DEESIDE Ramblers kept their promotion drive going with an important 5-1 victory over Leeds University on Saturday.
They always had the edge in midfield in a competitive game with Stuart Yorke and player-coach Matt Allen catching the eye.
Ramblers were 3-1 up at half-time and although keeper Graham Coombes had to make a couple of smart saves, they retained a stranglehold to take the points. Their goals came from Jimmy Lewis (2), Allen, Steve Hill and Del Smith.
The second team's winning run came to an end in a 4-2 defeat by Liverpool Sefton firsts. They were 3-0 down at the break and although Ed Lowe and Phil Brown found the target in the second half, they had left themselves too much to do.
Dave Linton's third team have settled into a winning rhythm, confirmed by a 5-2 defeat of Knutsford seconds. They led 3-1 at half-time and never looked likely to let Knutsford back into the game. Chris Jones scored a hat-trick and Phil Hudson and Julian Newboy completed the scoresheet.
The return of Jeff Latham following a two-year absence was the difference between the sides as Ramblers' fourths beat Sale seconds 4-2. He scored twice with James Spencer and Chris Marmion also on the mark.
The fifth team found Triton seconds too classy and went down 4-2, Mike Verity grabbing both goals.
It was one-way traffic for the sixth team against Urmston seconds until the last 15 minutes, when Urmston pulled two goals back, but they were already six goals ahead as Julian Osborne bagged five and Paul Violet added the other.
Bex Clarke scored all the goals for Ramblers ladies' first team in a 3-2 victory. They were 2-0 up and cruising until Driffield clawed their way back, and they had to show great commitment to take the points.
After a goalless first half, the seconds took advantage of a tiring Worksop side to win 3-0 with a Sally Bell hat-trick.
Ramblers Beavers continued their winning form and played top-class possession hockey to beat Winnington Park 3-0. Goalkeeper Ed Langley hardly touched the ball as Ben Lamont, Tom Fearnall and Matthew Ravenscroft did the business at the other end.
The Ramblers' U18s beat Shrewsbury 4-1 in the first round of the National U18 KO, thanks to goals by Ben Crooks (2), Steve Hill and Phil Johnson.
Deeside ladies' firsts meet Chester at Tarporley tomorrow at 1.30pm, and at 3pm the men's firsts take on Preston.
On Sunday at 1.30pm, the Girls Colts have a cup match against Oxton. After an early start for the trip to Tyne-mouth Chester looked like they were still on the coach as they trailed 3-0 early on.
But after stern words at half-time, they hit back for a 3-3 draw. Ian Boothroyd converted a penalty and a point was earned with further strikes by Rob Mason and Sam Anderson. MoM was Richard Bond.
Chester seconds gave the ball away cheaply against Urmston and were hit for six without reply. Jones, in goal, managed to keep the score down and Tim Davies, on his league debut, was an example of composure and discipline.
An administrative error meant Chester's fourth team had to play their game with 10 men against Rhyl, and an ankle injury to Ian Hughes reduced them to nine men for a while.
But they still went on to win 3-0 with goals by Paul North (2) and Jurgen Fenney (penalty).
Chester's sixth team conceded seven goals without reply to Tameside, who were hugely flattered by the scoreline.
Chester Ladies suffered their first defeat of the season, beaten 1-0 by Blackburn. From the whistle, it was obviously going to be a hard, demanding game and Blackburn were on a mission to win against the team at the top of the league.
Just before the end of the first half, a penalty stroke was awarded to Blackburn, who were foiled by a fine Gemma Ible stop.
Ten minutes into the second half, Blackburn made a fast attack and a scuffle in front of the net led to a goal. Chester stepped up a gear and played some great hockey to stay in the Blackburn half for a long period, enough for five short corners in which a goal was scored but disallowed.
Chester seconds lost 4-1 against top-ofthe-table Oxton; the fourths kept their good form going with a 2-2 draw against Neston thirds; and Chester were beaten 6-3 by defending champions Cannock in the boys' U15 Cup.