BROOK marched into the semi-finals of the Lancashire Cup with a nail-biting victory over hot favourites, Halton Simms Cross. In the process they also became the first North West Counties side to defeat Simmies in more than 18 months.

Solid defence and teamwork were without doubt the key elements of this triumph, although Brook did have the game's individual star performer also in scrum-half Phil Anderton.

The little number seven was a constant threat to the Widnesians and crowned an excellent display by scoring a vital second-half try and pulling off arguably a match-winning tackle. Defences dominated in a tight first half with forwards Gary Burgess, Jimmy Forshaw and Barry McGilvray to the fore for the home side whose rhythm was understandably disrupted by early injuries to joint player/coach Jason Mitchell and strong-running centre Mark Shaw.

It was left to the trusty boot of Brook's other joint player/coach Paul Toole to give them the lead with three well-struck penalties as the visitors' frustration resulted in ill discipline.

Paul Roberts replied with one for the visitors, leaving Brook 6-2 ahead at the interval.

It was Simms Cross who registered the first try of the game five minutes into the second half when their outstanding full-back Kieron Kavanagh linked up to race through from half way to score. Roberts added a superb touchline conversion.

Any thoughts they might have entertained that this would signal a Blackbrook collapse were quickly dispelled though when former Saints player Anderton's quick thinking saw him dart over from 10 yards out before the visitors' defence had time to react. Toole's conversion edged Brook back in front at 12-10.

It was a short-lived lead, however, as Simmies regained possession from the restart and the ever-dangerous Kavanagh sent in Mike Yearsley for the visitors' second try.

Roberts again converted brilliantly from the touchline but crucially missed a penalty shortly afterwards when Brook were caught holding down in the tackle.

Then with Simmies looking to press home their advantage Anderton came to the rescue for Brook, pulling off a superb cover tackle to deny them what would surely have been a match-clinching try at the corner.

With time running out the home side launched one last surge. Scott Lyon looked set to score on the right after good work by Anderton and Mark Leonard, only to be hauled down a yard short. From the resulting play-the-ball though Brook quickly worked the ball across to the opposite flank where full-back Paul Fass was on hand to take Ste Woods' inside pass to grab the winning try much to delight of the home contingent in the sizeable crowd.

Anderton deservedly took the Nexus man-of-the-match award for Brook although this was essentially a triumph for teamwork.