NORTHWICH Sapphires celebrated their most convincing victory of the season in the North West Championship League when they extended a winning sequence to five matches.

A 72-40 success against Tameside at Rudheath Leisure Centre on Sunday has propelled them up to fourth in the table.

Libby Ahovi was chosen afterwards as their player-of-the-match and with their two remaining games at home – against Oldham and then Chester – they can be confident of making a strong finish.

Sapphires’ seconds took part in an absorbing encounter, also against Tameside, in Division Two before falling to a narrow 51-49 defeat earlier the same morning.

Rachel Bannister was their most impressive performer on the court.

The weekend had started in encouraging fashion when the first-team maintained an unblemished record in the Cheshire Elite League with a 54-41 success against Merseyside at Winsford Lifestyle Centre.

Lydia Patterson was picked as their star turn as they recorded a seventh straight win.

A lead over closest-rivals Chester Maroon is now worth eight points.

They complete their campaign next month with head-to-heads against Macclesfield and Sapphires seconds.


North West Championship League

Division One: Blackpool 46-39 Chester; Capricorn 58-57 YMCA Bury; Elysium 69-27 Bramhall; Manchester 46-40 Warrington Town; Northwich Sapphires 72-40 Tameside

Division Two: Darwen 55-46 Trafford Seniors; Manchester Giants 56-48 Chester; Newman 28-57 YMCA Bury; Northwich Sapphires 49-51 Tameside; Ribble Valley 43-44 Trafford Youth

Cheshire Elite League

Round 15: Northwich Sapphires 54-41 Merseyside; NW Panthers 45-43 Deeside