Mollie Latham for Crewe & nantwich Ladies v Carlisle

Crewe and Nantwich RUFC Ladies took another stride forward in their quest to become league champions with a dominant performance against Preston Grasshoppers.

Preston nearly caused an upset in an otherwise perfect season for Crewe in the drawn away fixture in October.

And they presented a genuine threat going into the first league game of 2019.

But Crewe’s dominance was comprehensive, apart from a couple of strong runs from the dangerous Preston outside centre in the opening exchanges.

The hosts took the initiative early, with a try from Vicky Irwin, converted by Nikki Laurence.

Despite a powerful scrum, Preston struggled to retain possession against a well-organised and committed Crewe defence.

Mollie Latham (pictured) crashed over from close range soon afterwards, with Millie Jones scoring her 15th try of the season from half-way after threatening several times.

India Perris-Redding combined beautifully with Irwin to score down the left flank before Zoe Baldock finished one of the tries of the season with a touchdown just after half-time.

Preston re-grouped and scored a well worked try of their own after a period of Crewe indiscipline.

But the result was put beyond doubt with further Crewe scores from debutante Ellie Brightwell, Nicole Bell and a superbly taken try on the right by Vice-Captain Lucy Goose.

The win sees Crewe Ladies remain six points clear of second-placed Carlisle Ladies with a game in hand.

They travel to face the Cumbrian side this Sunday January 13.

Coach Paul Davis said: “This was a quality performance against a good team.

“We have worked hard on winning the 50/50 balls in the loose and playing for 80 minutes, and this game proved to us that we are on the right track.

“There is still a way to go, but we are very happy about our progress.”

Captain India Perris-Redding said: “The overriding emotion several times before Christmas was of frustration.

“Although our results were good, our performances were too inconsistent and we let weaker teams play too much rugby against us.

“This game was a good example of what happens when things really click, so credit to the players for working so hard in training.”

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