BATTLING Sandbach came up short against a strong Caldy team to crash out of the Thwaites Cheshire Cup 41-21 on Saturday.
The South Cheshire side stood up to be counted against their opponents, who ply their trade two leagues higher than Sand-bach, but their efforts were not quite enough.
Tries from Ross Stitt and Colin Wyatt were boosted by Andy Rollings' conversions and penalty kicks at Bradwall Road, but the visitors were always one step ahead.
Vice-captain Tim Oakes said the team can take great heart from their performance, and he is urging them to take the form into their league encounter at Rochdale at the weekend.
He said: 'We were 21-0 down after 15 minutes and things looked bad and our heads went down. But we picked ourselves up and pulled together.
'Just after half-time we came to within one try of Caldy, but they always nicked ahead of us. They scored, we scored again to stay in touch, but in the end they pulled away a little bit. They were good.
'To be honest we played very well, the forwards especially. We were good in the rucks and mauls, in contrast to recent weeks, and we can take heart from that.
'Our results haven't been good this season but it has been our own fault mostly, with silly mistakes and errors that cost us. But our ability is equal or better than almost everyone we have faced.
'If we can play like we did against Caldy in our own league we will have no problems, there's no doubt about that. It is up to us to cut out mistakes and get the wins we have deserved.' Sandbach's seconds won a top-of-the-table clash 27-17 at Waterloo.
The visitors started well with their smaller front row battling bravely against some big Waterloo forwards. Early crunching tackles from Ash Dale and Matt Graveney ensured Waterloo knew they were in a game.
Waterloo scored first with a well-worked try, but Chris Greenhalgh drew Sandbach level with a try under the posts. The home side hit back to capitalise on a lapse in concentration, but Martin Beecher saw a 50-yard run ending with a well-worked individual try to level.
A cheeky drop-goal from Greenhalgh gave Sandbach a slender 17-14 lead at the break and Chip Woods extended the lead with an unconverted try after the restart. Dale added another to secure the win.
Sandbach thirds crumbled to a 55-0 defeat against league leaders Marple. A team spokesman said: 'They were fitter, younger and better drilled than us, and we were never in the game.'
Sandbach U15s crushed neighbours Congleton 79-0, with tries from Colvin (3), Jervis (3), Gaskell (2), Herd (2), Leech, McAdam and Smith. Conversions came from Gaskell (5), Brough and Smith.