WITH an early ending to the current rugby season it gives opportunity to revisit the archives, and reflect.

Cheshire Cup rugby used to be the high point of the season prior to the arrival of the league structure.

At Northwich it gave a taste of real competition at a time when it was difficult to get meaningful fixtures against certain clubs. Northwich have achieved some of their most memorable results in this competition.

One that will remain in the memory of many local rugby enthusiasts was in 1984 when meeting neighbours Winnington Park for the first time ever at first-team level.

Both clubs were having good seasons and met in the quarter final. Northwich went on to beat Park 7-4, with a try by Colin Naylor.

At the time it was probably the best thing to happen for Park as it shook them into a resurgence and they enjoyed a rapid rise for the next few seasons, whilst Northwich after the euphoria, slipped a little in league form.

Following Sale’s withdrawal from the competition in 1987/88, Macclesfield, New Brighton and Winnington Park dominated the Cheshire Cup for over a decade.

Northwich subsequently lost in the semi following the victory over Park, as they did for the next two seasons prior to finally reaching the final. Unfortunately losing to Lymm and never reaching a Cheshire Cup final since, although there have been a few near misses.

Sixteen years after their first meeting with Park, now playing two divisions higher, the teams once again met in the Cheshire Cup at Burrows Hill, and an outstanding injury time try from Shaw and a 35 yard conversion from the touchline by Ayers was the last kick of a thrilling encounter. Northwich won an enthralling and dramatic cup tie by one point.

This time around Northwich were more prepared and organised as a club, their time in the ranks as a “junior club” was served, as they commenced their ascendancy through the leagues structure at first team level. The Cheshire Cup is for club sides competing at tier 5 of the RFU structure and Northwich will be eager for a return into the competition.