SANDBACH put on an exceptional display to beat Ormskirk 11-6 at Bradwall Road on Saturday.
The home side opted to play against a heavy wind in the first half in a bid to give themselves a strong platform for a victory charge later in the game.
And the risky tactic paid off as Sandbach weathered Ormskirk's storm - the visitors continuously pushing them deep into their own half. The battle was won in the lineouts, with jumpers Colin Wyatt and Dave Gibson dominant.
This allowed the Sandbach forwards to maul the team out of danger and break forward. A solid defensive display allowed Sandbach to end the half at 0-0, and confident they could make it pay with the wind at their backs.
The boot of fly-half Tom Hughes forced the early pressure for Sandbach and Ormskirk began to shake.
The home side looked ready to push home with their territorial advantage when a mistake put them back on the back foot.
Captain Ray Jones missed a tackle deep in Ormskirk territory. Winger Dan Massey and full-back Paul Harvey were left to cope with a five against two situation and Ormskirk made it 5-0.
The shock got Sandbach playing again but basic handling errors threatened to spoil their hopes of a comeback. Coach Alec Burton brought on Nick Bolton, John Pemberton and Craig Hewitt in a bid to kick-start a revival, and the move proved the tonic needed.
With 20 minutes remaining, continuous forward barrages forced Ormskirk into conceding a penalty which was scored by Hughes, and the pressure mounted. The real breakthrough came from the unlikely source of replacement Pemberton.
Gibson won a lineout 15 metres from touch and the pack went on a rolling maul. Pemberton broke from the maul and crashed over the line from five metres.
Hughes was unlucky with the conversion but made up for his miss, and rounded off a man-of-the-match display with a stunning drop goal in the closing minutes to complete the score.
The result sees Sandbach move back up into second spot in the league.