THATTO Heath Crusaders avenged several cup defeats to West Hull with a narrow 24-20 win away from home, writes Andrew Southward.

Thatto’s away form had been problematic of late, however, inspired by full back Dan Birkett the away side produced a great defensive performance to grab the two points.

West Hull threatened a second-half comeback similar to their Challenge trophy performance yet couldn’t capitalize on field position.

Thatto suffered a dreadful start; two knocks within the first three minutes allowed West Hull to pounce. Nathan Powley selling the whole Thatto defence a dummy to dive over.

As they settled into the game Birkett produced a great individual try. Picking up the ball on the short side before chipping over his opposite number and winning the footrace to finish.

Although handling errors reduced Thatto’s completion which ultimately gave Wests the chance to score once again, fullback Ryan Longton to finish as weeping move and put his side 10-6 up.

Yet Thatto would not be outdone, taking full advantage of a West Hull mistake.

This time Jack Jones gave Birkett the space to run and grab his second. Birkett converted the try as Thatto looked to lead 12-10 at half time.

This wouldn’t be the case as West Hull broke from deep in their own half through Josh Wood was followed up by Josh Nicklin to grab the half time lead 16-12.

With the game up for grabs at half time both sides would be rueing missed chances and preparing for another closely contested 40 minutes.

However, the second half would belong to an efficient Thatto Heath as they made the most of the lesser field position.

Louis Taylor would challenge Birkett for the man of the match with a late second half double.

The first coming from a great Crossfield kick from Josh Crehan.

The Wests defence failed to deal with the pressure and Taylor picked up the ball to cross in the corner, Birkett converted once again to make it 18-16.

From this moment Thatto put relentless pressure as Wests attacked their line.

Yet the away side remained strong with a solid defensive line giving Wests little chance of a comeback.

Louis Taylor grabbed a second as the Thatto player’s defied coaches to run the ball off a penalty, Adam Prendergast showing great skill to find Taylor out wide and push the score to 24-18.

Wests grabbed a try with seconds to go, yet it wasn’t enough as Thatto grabbed a great win ahead of a tough game against Siddal.