Rugby Sevens - Crewe & Nantwich RUFC player Eli Woodward

Crewe & Nantwich RUFC 1sts maintained their push for a promotion play-off place after beating Willenhall 56-13.

But the Vagrants side will know they’ve been in a tough battle against a side fighting off relegation.

Willenhall’s forwards started strongly repeatedly trying to smash through the resilient Crewe defence.

The pressure eventually told as the penalty count mounted up resulting in two yellows in three minutes of each other for Roche and Standley, reducing Crewe to 13 men.

But against the run of play, Crewe broke out through 2nd row Buckley who set fullback Ward away to pass to centre Davies to score in the corner.

Willenhall responded with a converted try and a penalty with Crewe still fielding 13 men.

Roche back on the field made a decisive break and fed wing Cowap to run 50 metres to score in the left hand corner, converted by Little.

Then scrum half Scott Cann found a gap linking with Davies who fed centre Gammage to burst over for an unconverted try and a 17-10 lead at the break.

Crewe took control in the second period. Cowap gathered in a Little chip over the Willenhall back line to score followed shortly by a successful penalty by Little.

Further scores by Collins, after a slick move between Woodward and Cowap, and Buckley after linking with Roche saw Crewe power ahead.

A quick tap from Roche at a penalty fed prop James Guy who showed his pace over 40 metres and scored in the right hand corner.

Another break by Roche allowed centre Reuben Davies to gather his own chip through and score.

The final try was scored by a neat line out catch by flanker Dan Lawrence and a forwards drive saw Roche scoring.

The victory keeps Crewe in the hunt with two games to go and rivals Moseley facing league leaders Leek next Saturday.

Coach Andy Brown said: “We showed a real mental toughness in the first half with a monumental defensive effort against a desperate and determined team.

“In the 2nd half the backs and forwards showed their quality as they took control of the game.

“Matt Standley had an outstanding day and made 16 tackles, Killian Roche earned the Man of the match award for a massive contribution to the game, Dave Shepherd made a strong debut on the right wing and there were great contributions from both Wright and Lawrence coming into the team only this week.

“Everyone from 1 to 18 played their part in a difficult match and should be congratulated.”

Crewe bidding for the promotion playoff final next face Old Saltians at the Vagrants.

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