PORT avoided the drop in dramatic fashion on Saturday as they claimed the win they needed over their Cheshire Plate final conquerors.

Steve Foster's side knew that victory at fourth-placed C&N would be the likely requirement for survival, with second-from-bottom relegation rivals Ormskirk at home to basement club Moore.

But while a remarkable 102-0 success for Ormskirk was enough to save their bacon at the expense of St Edward's Old Boys, who were the side that ultimately filled the second relegation place after a 14-8 home loss to champions Hoylake, Port's win was the great achievement of the afternoon.

Foster said: 'I'm a very relieved man. I didn't have to give much of a team talk before the game because the lads knew what they had to do and were up for the challenge. As in the final between the two sides last month, the better side on the day won, but fortunately this time it was us.

'We'd watched a video of the Plate final and knew where we had gone wrong. We got our tactics correct on Saturday, attacked them on the lineouts and pushed them back before they got the chance to build up any momentum. Our forwards dominated and we beat them up front.

He added: 'We kept kicking the ball into the corners and making them run from the goal line. It may have been boring rugby but this game was obviously all about the result for us. At the start of the season, we set out to stay in this league and did not pick a position. We brought in some new blood and, hopefully, that will be beneficial in the long run.'

Playing into a slight breeze in the first half, Port got themselves 6-0 ahead thanks to a brace of Paul Millington penalties, while the hosts missed a kick of their own.

Following the hosts' most sustained period of pressure in the second half, C&N hit back with a try to get within a point of Port but missed an achievable conversion that would have edged them in front.

Andrew Slawson & Partners MoM was Phil Gow. Ellesmere Port defend their Chester Vets crown on Sunday before departing to Madrid for their end-of-season tour the following weekend.

They will play two matches in the Spanish capital.