SECOND PLACED Crewe & Nantwich travelled to table toppers Hoylake in this eagerly awaited South Lancs Cheshire 2 fixture.
As expected, Crewe were fired up straight from the first kick-off, despite playing into a strong wind.
The visiting forwards were in determined mood and caused problems with their simple but effective tactic of 'pick and drive'.
However, not to be deterred, the home side soaked up the pressure before a telling tackle on the Crewe full back by flanker Paul Ashcroft gave Hoylake an excellent attacking opportunity.
Scrum-half Morris passed a quick ball to Simon Robinson who drew his man and found second-row Gleeson out on the wing. The big forward was unstoppable from 20 metres and registered the first points of the match. Robinson converted to give the home side an early 7-0 lead.
The rest of the half was largely played on the back foot though, as Crewe's tactic of '10 man rugby' paid dividends.
They soon replied with two penalties as Hoylake continually infringed under the pressure.
Eventually though, Hoylake did get some quality possession and Ashcroft made a powerful break. He passed to the supporting Phil James who in turn fed Rob Kurton.
As the move broke down, the visitors killed the ball and conceded a vital penalty which Robinson converted to extend Hoylake's lead going into the second half.
With only a four-point advantage and the howling wind to overcome, the home side faced an almighty challenge in the second half.
Hoylake began the half in determined fashion, pinning back Crewe in their own territory.
Eventually the pressure told and prolific winger Kev Jones crossed in the corner to extend the lead to 15-6. The visitors did not capitulate though and for a period of some 10 minutes, the home side was entrenched on its own line.
Eventually, following a scrum five metres out, the visitor's scrum half sneaked in to close the gap to 15-11.
Under considerable pressure, the Crewe forwards then conceded a penalty that Robinson gratefully converted.
At 18-11, Crewe only needed a converted try to bring them level. They enjoyed a five minute period of possession deep in the home side's 22 but were continually frustrated by the determined defensive work of the Hoylake 15.
The culmination was another penalty for Robinson finally giving the home side some much-needed breathing space.
When the referee blew the final whistle, the Melrose Avenue outfit was delighted to have taken the points, extending their lead at the top of the table to four points.
Next week, Hoylake's thoughts turn to Twickenham as they welcome Egremont, a largely unknown quantity from Cumbria in the third round of the Powergen Vase.