CREWE and Nantwich matched the hard work put in by their emergency ground staff to grind out a valuable victory over Manchester.
Saturday's match looked in doubt with the rugby pitch at Crewe Vagrants under water. But club stalwarts Alan Jones, Les Briers and Gwyn Evans shifted more than 250 buckets of water to ensure it went ahead.
The team repaid their efforts with a solid performance which doubled Crewe's points advantage over the visitors.
Coach Nick Price said: 'We can be satisfied with the win because overall the defence was sound. This backline, given dry conditions, showed their full potential.'
Crewe bossed the opening exchanges. On 10 minutes a neat move saw winger Andre Zwijnen beat several tackles to take play up to the Manchester 22.
The hosts won the ball from the resulting ruck and spread it wide down the backs. A superb angled run from winger Liam Sloyan caught Manchester off-guard and he sailed over for the opening score. Rory Drysdale put the conversion wide.
Crewe pushed to extend their lead but were caught napping when a kick was charged down and Manchester's winger was afforded an easy run in for an unconverted try.
Crewe hit back when Tom Spowage emerged from a Manchester driving maul with the ball and powered over the line. Drysdale hit the extra two points, but the visitors made it 12-8 at the break with a penalty.
Drysdale notched a penalty on 49 minutes, before sub Karl Tatlock swept across the pitch, outpaced the cover defence, and dived over in the corner. The try was not converted. Manchester were awarded a penalty try in injury time but it made no impact on the overall result. Crewe entertain Wigan on Saturday.
Crewe 2nds won 7-0 at Burnage and the 3rds hammered Bedians 30-7. The U11s lost 19-7 to Wrexham, despite an Eddie Spibey try which was converted by Ben Telfer.
Sandbach 47 Kidderminster 10:
Sandbach were in seventh heaven after another massive win.
Seven different try-scorers contributed to their demolition job on Kidderminster as they race towards Midland League Division Three West (North) glory.
Rich Murray, Dan Massey, Ray Jones, Tim Jones, Tom O'Brien, Tim Oakes and Luke Butler were on the mark, while Lee Pickles hit three conversions and two penalties.
A club spokesman said: 'A good team performance was demonstrated by seven different tryscorers, but it could have been more with better decisions and handling. But overall another solid performance.
'With other results this week making the gap between the top two even larger, the crucial match will be on March 3 when second-placed Sutton Coldfield travel to Sandbach.'
Captain Tim Oakes and his men visit Wolverhampton on Saturday.
Meanwhile, Sandbach U8s have secured a new sponsorship deal. Their new training tops have been provided by Call Sense UK, a Sand-bach-based business telecom service provider.
Coach Alastair Walker said: 'The new tops will help the children develop a strong sense of team spirit and pride.'