Portico Panthers 19 Thatto Heath 14 NORTH West Counties Division Three championship contenders Portico stunned Premier Division neighbours Thatto in this Hays Chemicals St Helens Cup clash.

Despite the heavy conditions both sides served up some good rugby but the underdogs held their nerve to clinch a place in the semi-finals.

Heath opened the scoring with a try by prop Paul Littler, but lack of discipline proved costly for the visitors with Mike Hobin slotting over three penalties and a drop goal to edge Panthers in front.

Thatto hit back with a penalty and an unconverted try by Wayne Jackman to lead 10-7 at the break.

After the interval though Portico began to gain the upper hand and a try by substitute Stu Graham, goalled from near to the touchline, put them on the way to victory. Then a 50-yard solo effort by Hobin, again converted, looked to have made the game safe for Panthers.

Although reduced to 12 men, Heath battled to the end and they narrowed the deficit with their third unconverted try, scored by Darren Blanchfield.

In a superb, all-round team effort by Portico veteran packman Dave Ward was man of the match, followed by Hobin and scrum-hald Keith Tunstall, with Troy Cummings the top tackler.

Converted for the new archive on 14 July 2000. Some images and formatting may have been lost in the conversion.