WINSFORD Saxons had to reach a higher standard than before to claim their latest title, according to co-manager Chris Thomas.

Despite winning all but one of their previous 17 matches in the Crewe and District League’s top-flight, they had to prevail in their remaining one by a five-goal margin to thwart rivals Madeley White Star.

They beat opponents Sandbach Curshaws 10-0 just to make sure.

After finishing as runners-up in a cup final on each of the previous two Saturdays, they were determined to end the campaign holding a trophy.

“We’d been drowning our sorrows in the pub,” Thomas told the Guardian.

“And that feeling was even worse after the second one when we found out Madeley had overtaken us with a 10-2 win against Over in their last game.

“We just went for it, and tore into Curshaws – there was no way we were letting that one get away.”

The team have now finished first in the Premier Division in three of the past four seasons and were second behind Barnton Wanderers in the other.

They needed to score more than 90 goals, and beat their closest-rivals away from home in early April to keep alive their hopes, to do so this time around.

Thomas, who picks the team along with Peter Hughes, said: “Nothing can compare to how we felt after winning the first title.

“This is different; we’ve had to chase Madeley for most of the way and they’ve made us produce our best just to stick with them.

“We’ve pushed each other, and either side would have made a worthy champion.

“The lads have had to be ruthless and signing Dean Mundy [from Over] has certainly helped – he's been reliable and weighed in with important goals.

“I think we’ve improved, we’ve had to, and there’s no doubt missing out last season made us hungrier.”