Garstang RUFC went top of the Lancs/Cheshire Three table after beating Ellesmere Port 31-12 in a battle of this season’s North and South winners.
The bonus point victory moved them a point clear of a Birchfield side whom they play in a fortnight.
Victory also vindicated their decision to forfeit home advantage and move the game to Preston Grasshoppers given the poor condition of the Hudson Park pitches.
They took an immediate lead when Adam Nickson was brought down and the ball killed, allowing Charlie Clark to slot over a penalty.
Despite seeing Ben Kelsall sinbinned for a high tackle, Garstang held firm until another penalty saw Ellesmere kick deep.
A maul was formed before they broke through to score a converted try, followed by a second score to build a 12-3 lead.
With a minute of the half remaining, Garstang crossed for the first time when Kelsall, Gavin Barton and Ainsley Pye combined for Lawson Whittaker to score with Clark converting.
Two Clark penalties after the break put Garstang 16-12 ahead before he then scored in the corner to make it 21-12.
Joe Harrison extended the lead further, taking two players over the line with him before touching down.
The scoring was completed when Joel Dugdale crossed in the corner and earned the bonus point.