Buxton 18 Ellesmere Port 26
PORT are breathing down the necks of the South Lancs/Cheshire Division Three top two after they stretched their incredible winning run to 13 matches on Saturday with a vital bonus-point victory.
With a game in hand, the Oilers are now just four points behind Prenton and five from table-topping Crewe & Nantwich.
Player-chairman Paul Watkinson, who will be part of the Port side who welcome mid-table Liverpool Rangers to the Whitby Sports & Social Club on Saturday (3pm), said: “Buxton gave us a good game on their patch but we showed great team spirit in coming from behind to win and also claiming the bonus point, which no team had previously managed to do at Buxton.
“This leaves us in a great position with three games to go. We just have to stay focused now and play the standard of rugby we know we can.”
Port fell behind on Saturday after an uncharacteristic handing error by fullback Ant Jones allowed Buxton to score an unconverted try.
But after the home side had a man sin-binned, the visitors roared back with a well rehearsed tap penalty move that ended with No 8 James Callaghan going over under the posts and fly-half Paul Millington adding the extras.
Millington repeated the trick after Callaghan crossed the whitewash for the second time and, although Buxton replied with a penalty, further indiscipline resulted in Jerry Phillip extending Port’s lead with a try which Millington converted.
The Derbyshire outfit touched down to reduce the deficit going into the break to eight points, but the game looked up when late on in a stop-start second half second-row and man-of-the-match Adam Prach produced an outrageous dummy to give centre Pete Doyle the simplest of tries and Port their all-important bonus point.
Buxton completed the scoring with their third unconverted try of the match, but by then it was too little, too late.
Ellesmere Port Under 12s booked their place in the Cheshire Plate final with a stunning 49-7 win at Crewe & Nantwich on Sunday.