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Rugby: Crewe and Nantwich confident of promotion
By rugunion chris harper
CREWE and Nantwich reckon it will be a "big surprise" if they don't go up this season.
They occupy second place in South Lancs/Cheshire Three and have never been out of the running.
The Vagrants Park side were relegated last term, having suffered a 12-point deduction for fielding ineligible players, but the club's coaching co-ordinator, Nick Price, said: "Our aim was to bounce straight back and I am very pleased with our progress."
Crewe and Nantwich trail leaders Prenton by two points, having played the same number of games, and were due to meet their chief rivals for the title last Saturday.
A frozen pitch put paid to the top-of-the-table clash at Nantwich, but Price is confident they can exact revenge for a 45-22 defeat at Prenton four months ago when the fixture is rearranged.
Price said: "We have suffered two defeats against Prenton and Parkonians (26-22) and both were away from home with weakened sides. We are confident we can beat them at home.
"Hopefully when we play Prenton the pitch will be firm, which will suit our style of rugby, and it will be 'winner takes all'."
Price, the club's former director of rugby, admitted the players "more or less gave up" when the severe points deduction proved too big a set-back.
He said: "The majority of the players stayed and we recruited students from Manchester Metropolitan University.
"We also held on to a couple of players who could easily have moved on to play at a higher level."
Fly-half Joe Gammage, who has been with the club since the under-sevens, has proved to be a class act and Irishman Killian Roache, at number eight, has also played a leading role under the captaincy of Kevin Naughton.
Price said: "My perseverance paid off with Killian. He is a friend of mind and I spent 18 months on Facebook trying to get him over here."