YMCA handed out their Christmas presents early at Laund Hill on Saturday as they virtually 'gifted' Hoylake with a fifth round spot in this season's EDF Senior Vase competition.
Six successful penalties from full-back Steve Young, a 'walk-through' try from 40 yards out by scrum half Dominic Kearney and a charged-down kick, resulting in a coffin-nailing third try just about summed up YM's sad afternoon.
Coupled with a self-confessed 'not one of my best games' from referee Oliver Dixon, and the result was there in a nutshell.
There were two distinct turning points to the match, the first coming when Australian second-rower Luke Hannan had to be substituted at the end of the first half, after a heavy blow to the head left him with concussion.
And that really proved to be the knockout blow, as YM failed to secure a single line-out throw in the second half.
And the second came late in the half with a double faux pas from the referee, who failed to spot a high tackle on YM full-back David Rees, instead awarding the visitors a penalty, while two minutes later failing to allow advantage when Rees intercepted a Hoylake knock-on and was nailed on to race half the length of the pitch for a near-certain seven-pointer.
It was a 10-point swing from which YM were never going to recover.
But it would be churlish to lay too much blame at the referee's feet, for the truth of the matter was that YM strived once again to beat themselves by not grasping the basics.
Spirits were high when they took the lead on 10 minutes with nicely- constructed try in the right corner for first-team debutant winger Danny Sykes. It was set up by Rees, who broke clear down the left and when the ball was worked across field, it was Rees again who gave the final pass to Sykes to cross near the flag.
But the alarm bells began to ring six minutes later when Hoylake No9 Kearney gathered the ball 10 yards inside YM's half, and proceeded to 'hypnotise' the defence as he waltzed past any number of woeful tackles to score for the visitors.
Full-back Young then put Hoylake ahead with the first of his six penalties, striking the ball well from 40 yards out.
YM were quick to respond however, and another slick piece of rugby saw the ball whipped down the line, Mava Iosefa broke through before feeding left winger Dave Holmes to cross near the left corner, and it was he who knocked over a superb touchline conversion for a 12-8 lead.
Young cut the arrears with another three-pointer before winger Jason Pell took advantage of another piece of YM madness which saw Rees marooned alone inside his own 22, and was robbed to put the Wirral outfit 16-12 up.
And although Young has a rare miss, he added a third penalty on 33 minutes.
YM showed their appetite for the fight, however, and after a good rolling maul, Darrell McSwiney peeled away and passed to supporting Simon Wilson to score. And with another super conversion from wide out the Laund Hill men were level at the interval.
Holmes put them ahead again soon after the re-start with a penalty, but indiscipline led to Young notching three consecutive penalties to give Hoylake some leeway, and when the unfortunate James Travis had a clearance kick charged down inside his own 22, Hoylake's No10 Webb won the race to touch down and the game was up. Young knocked over his seventh kick of the day and YM's Cup run was over.
YMCA: Rees; Holmes, Morton, Iosefa, Sykes; Travis, Wilson (Bowker 73); McSwiney, Guegue, Watson, Hannan (Horner 41), Hellawell (Whitehead 62), Housley, Anderson, Eastwood.
Hoylake: Young; Pell, Baldock, Robinson, Flint, Webb, Kearney, Butterworth, Wylie, Miller, James, Griffiths, Collister, Miks, Selby-Millic.
Referee: Oliver Dixon (South Yorkshire).