SANDBACH moved closer to promotion with a solid 32-5 home win over Orrell Anvils on Saturday.
Orrell are one of the few teams to have defeated Sandbach this season, moving into the promotion picture themselves, and they took the lead when their blind-side prop went over from a rolling maul.
This duly galvanised Sandbach and an Andy Rollings penalty reduced the arrears before second row Colin Wyatt scored their first try after some fast rucking.
After the turnaround Sandbach's Chris Davenport fluffed a glorious chance and John Pemberton had a try ruled out for a double movement.
But their luck changed when the referee missed a Dan Massey knock-on and Rollings went on to score a try he then converted.
Orrell's fly half was sin-binned in the uproar which followed and the extra man told when Massey jinked his way over the line.
Brothers Ray and Tim Jones completed the scoring with their second tries in successive matches - both converted by Tom Hughes.
A good day for Sandbach was made complete by the news that both Ashtonon-Mersey and Ruskin Park had both, surprisingly, lost.
Sandbach now need five points from their final five games to be guaranteed promotion, but face a tough testy at Ormskirk on Saturday.
Vice-captain Chris Busby said: 'Ormskirk have a powerful pack and, as was proved by results at the weekend, there isn't too much to choose between teams at the top of this league and teams toward the bottom.'
Sandbach Seconds lost 78-7 at Stockport, with Rick Jones's consolation try being converted by Tom Hodgekinson.
Ormskirk 10 Crewe and Nantwich 24: Crewe continued their impressive new year form to move into the top four of the South Lancs and Cheshire League Division Two table on Saturday.
Crewe's latest victory was an all-round effort with an impressive defensive performance limiting Ormskirk to one try in each half, despite their hosts enjoying long periods of possession.
Matt Farr's men started off well with good driving runs from the forwards backed up by some strong breaks by the backs.
But they didn't have such a good day in the lineout, with the Ormskirk jumpers getting up in front of them to deny them clean possession on many occasions.
Crewe led 12-5 at the break thanks to tries from props Andy Pemberton and Steve Taylor, with the second score converted by Farr.
Ormskirk scored a fine try themselves after a flowing move with some neat handling.
The home side dictated the game after the break, though the Crewe defence refused to buckle under the pressure.
Don Ngatai went over near the posts for his second try in as many games to stretch Crewe's lead and another sweeping move resulted in Andy O'Keeffe outstripping the defence with sheer pace on his way to a fine try. Farr added the extras.
Ormskirk grabbed a late try when a neat move saw them go over in the corner but Sandbach's win helped Crewe leapfrog over Orrell into fourth spot ahead of this Saturday's rearranged fixture at St Edwards Old Boys.
Crewe's Seconds beat Vale of Lune 14-8, with tries from Jon Cockburn and Alan Hargreaves both converted by Mike Parker. The Seconds have no weekend fixture.
The Thirds lost 37-5 at Broughton Park. They host Bowdon this Saturday.