A 14-6 victory over Wath Brow Hornets ensured Thatto Heath Crusaders maintained their grip on second place in the NCL Premier Division, with Heath in good form heading into the play-offs in three weeks’ time.

After falling behind in the ninth minute, Heath hit back two minutes later after a Wath Brow knock-on gifted Louis Taylor a try.

With the scores level at 4-4 for over an hour, Heath hit back with two tries in the final 8 minutes from Adam Saunders and Dave Sutton to make the win safe.

Heath’s Sean Kenny and Hornet’s Fran King were both sin-binned in the later stages as tempers began to flair, however Heath had enough to see the game out, and seal their fourth win in as many matches.

It also marked a league double over the Cumbria-based outfit, with Heath recording a 24-20 victory away from home in May.

The victory pushes Heath six points ahead of Wath Brow, but only two points remain between 2nd place Heath and 3rd place West Hull, who scraped through 17-16 at Siddal.

Thatto Heath go again on Saturday, when they take on mid-table Siddal at home.

Crusaders: Ben Heyes; Louis Taylor, Matty Norton, Adam Saunders, Dave Sutton; Jack Jones, Josh Crehan; Adam Hesketh, Sean Kenny, Max Dudley, Adam Prendergast, Connor Dwyer, Andy Lea. Subs: Lewis Foster, Matty Kilgannon, Mike Stark, Brad Ashurst.

PILKINGTON Recs continued their recent good run of form in the NCL First Division, which has pushed them into play-off contention, with a 24-16 victory against relegation-threatened Shaw Cross Sharks.

Shaw Cross took the lead through Brandon French before Pilks hit back with a converted Jonathan Keys try.

The resilient Sharks kept coming though, scoring again through French’s second, but tries from Tez Riley and Keys late in the first half swung the game in Recs’ favour.

Another early score from Shaw Cross threatened Pilks’ lead after the break, but the visitors ensured the win three minutes from time through a Jamie Smith try, sealing a league double over the Sharks after their 50-10 home win in June.

Pilks will be hopeful of extending their unbeaten run to six games on Saturday, when they travel across the Pennines to face bottom club Bradford Dudley Hill.