A SEASON of magnificent progress boils down to one game for Ellesmere Port Rugby Club’s first team.
Victory at home to Buxton on Saturday in their final match of the campaign (3pm) and the Oilers would secure the last remaining promotion place behind newly-crowned champions Crewe & Nantwich.
Defeat, however, would mean they would miss out on runners-up spot by the narrowest of margins.
Port’s last promotion came more than 10 years ago and player-chairman Paul Watkinson believes the side are ready for their date with destiny.
Watkinson said: “This is the biggest game of the season for the club, but we are going into it off the back of a confidence-building, convincing win away at Old Parkonians in the Cheshire Plate.
“The team has made magnificent progress this season. I said at the start of the season that if we played to our potential, we would be challenging at the top of the table.
“We are unbeaten in the league and cup since October so we’re up there on merit.
“We can’t wait for this game now.”
Incredibly, the Oilers have won their last 15 South Lancs/Cheshire Division Three matches to move within one point of a second-placed Prenton side who have played their final game.
But the title is no longer up for grabs after Crewe & Nantwich romped to an 81-3 home win over Capenhurst on Saturday in their last match of the season.
On the same afternoon, Port booked their place in the semi-finals of the Cheshire Plate with a comfortable 32-12 victory at league rivals Old Parkonians.
Outstanding young No.8 James Callaghan was the star of the show for the visitors as he bagged four tries.
Seven days after scoring a hat-trick against Capenhurst, in-form centre Pete Doyle added to his tally for the term by touching down twice, with fly-half Chris Carbutt kicking one of his six difficult conversion attempts.
The Oilers, for whom prop Gareth Wallis was named man-of-the- match, will face promotion rivals Prenton in the semis.
Saturday’s big Buxton clash, which kicks-off at 3pm at the Whitby Sports & Social Club on Dunkirk Lane, will be followed by an end-of-season celebration to which all past and present players and their families are invited to attend.