HOCKEY: Runcorn men's first team kept within reach of third-placed Rhyl and District, who they trail only on points difference, by routing rock-bottom hosts Cheetham & Heywood 2nd, who have yet to win this season, 8-0.
After a poor start, the depleted visitors were shaken into life by a 10th-minute scare in North West League Division Three.
From Wakefield's 60-yard clearance, Jones drew a defender to set up Shallcross to finish from 10 yards before adding a fine goal of his own.
Runcorn, attempting almost impossible balls when the easy pass was on, made little of their attacking opportunities until Pretorius made it 3-0 at the break from a short-corner.
Within 10 minutes of the restart it was 6-0. Simple and precise hockey returned with Drake and Owen dominating the midfield.
Yates, Shallcross and Jones were the beneficiaries with Pretorious and Hill in turn creating the fifth and sixth goals.
But Runcorn reverted to type, again squandering possession.
Only in the final ten minutes did Runcorn add to their tally through Shallcross and Jones, each completing their hat-tricks. n Runcorn men's second string went down 12-0 at City of Manchester but the thirds returned to winning ways with a 4-3 victory over Didsbury.