CHALLENGE Cup holders Avon Athletic again proved they are a force to be reckoned with at their Widnes stronghold, brushing aside newly-crowned Robin Hodgson Division champions Bebington Athletic 3-0 to secure their place in this season's final.

The champions were second best on the day with Avon clearly intent to hold on to the trophy and confirm a deserved victory, thanks to goals from Paul Coventry, Chris Lloyd and Anthony Farrell

Last midweek, rivals for the runners-up medals, Mersey Ferries and Avon, met at Levers and it was the visitors who were the quicker out of their starting blocks, a smart double from Coventry putting them in the driving seat.

Not to be outdone, Ferries stoked their boilers and made a game of it after the break to finish with honours even, following replies from Craig Davies and James Fell.

Davies was on the mark again for Ferries in Saturday's clash with Runcorn visitors Pavilions. And although Richie Stenhouse added a second, defensive shortcomings proved costly for Ferries as the visitors emerged 3-2 victors, Ainsley Taylor bagging the winner.

Champions Bebington Athletic were rocked in midweek when bottom club Rangers Breaks stole a surprise sixth-minute opener through Jimmy Dillon. Bebington soon shrugged off the setback, however, and drew level through Matty Tanner before stepping up a gear to post a 4-1 result, with further strikes from Evan Morris, Matty Pierce and Danny Nevin.

It was a similar tale of woe for Breaks on Saturday against Black Horse after going in front thanks to a crisp 20-yard effort from young Lee Jones. But they then fell prey to two breaks on the counter, with Black Horse then defending valiantly to hold out for a 2-1 win.

Will Armstrong's deflected shot gave Leasowe Castle an early lead in Saturday's tussle with Window Shades, but the visitors, who still have a good chance of finishing runners-up, equalised through Jamie Holmes to stay in contention. Shades then missed a penalty but their resolve was unshaken as Holmes made it 2-1 before brother Paul also found the net to complete a worthy victory.