CREWE and Nantwich capped a season of progress by lifting the Thwaites Cheshire Plate at Stockport on Sunday.
A devastating spell just before the turnaround saw Crewe run in three tries, which ultimately proved too much of a hurdle for their South Lancs and Cheshire League Division Two rivals Ellesmere Port to overcome.
Crewe produced a first-half display that was as good as any they have turned in this season.
While the forwards were perhaps not as dominant as usual, they still produced enough quick ball to give their three-quarters time and space to run on to passes and strike deep into Port territory.
From scrum-half Andy Thompson through the centres to the wings, the threes were a revelation to the Crewe spectators brought up on a pack-based game for most of the season.
Player-coach Matthew Farr put Crewe ahead with an early penalty and his side then enjoyed a slice of fortune to open their try count.
Andy O'Keeffe chipped ahead and the ball seemed to have bounced over the tryline and out of play.
Bizarrely, the ball suddenly bounced upwards off its tip into the grateful arms of O'Keeffe for him to score.
The breadth of Crewe's game was shown when Stuart Van Wyk on the other wing finished off a fine move.
Farr added the third try when he joined the scrum and grounded the ball under a pile of players after a rolling maul.
Captain Gavin Cowan then produced some trickery to open up a gap for O'Keeffe to go over for his second try.
These four tries, together with two Farr conversions, put Crewe into a comfortable 27-3 lead at the interval.
As is Crewe's wont, however, they were guilty of slacking off in the second period and Port came back into the game with a penalty and a converted try, which gave them a glimmer of hope.
Crewe took heed of the warning and defended soundly for the remainder of the game to claim their first Plate success since the 1995/96 season.
The large silver plate was presented to captain Cowan with all the players receiving a personal trophy.
Man-of-the-match Andreas Reckewerth also earned an inscribed tankard for his efforts.
With two league games left, Crewe must win both to retain third place in the league, starting at relegation candidates Moore on Saturday.
Crewe's Seconds won 13-10 at North-wich on Saturday with tries from Stuart Banks, Keith Raftery and a penalty by Mike Bowyer. They host Macclesfield in the North West League on Saturday.
Sandbach hold their promotion party on Saturday when St Edward's OB visit Bradwall Road. The team had no fixture last weekend.