NORTHWICH moved into the Cheshire Plate semi-finals on Sunday and must now regard themselves as favourites.

Sale Amateurs, Ellesmere Port and Congleton are the other teams in this week's draw and Northwich ought to be capable of beating any and eventually collecting a trophy they last won 20 years ago, when they defeated Anselmians in the final.

Saturday's tie was a straightforward affair. Even though Northwich were well under-strength they had more than enough spare to deal with a side from two divisions lower.

Mark Johnson (2) and Chris Dale scored the tries and Dale converted his own. But Northwich will be disappointed they did not open a wider points margin.

Northwich 3rds exacted revenge against Sandbach.

Beaten 44-22 by them earlier in the season, after being 22-0 up, North-wich won the latest meeting 37-5. Saturday: 1st away v Hoylake, 2nds home v Caldy; 3rds away v Wirral.

Meanwhile, Northwich - the first club of any kind to win the Sports Council Sportsmark Award last year - are again leaders, having being given their second year accreditation.

Bryan Redpath, the Sale Sharks and

former Scotland scrum-half, made the presentation at Moss Farm.

While he was there Redpath ran a training session for 20 Northwich juniors.

Melissa Beesley scored seven tries on Sunday as Northwich U14s girls beat Ellesmere Port 55-0. Nieve Jones, Jody Fraser, Trina Tulloch and Rebakah Andrew also scored.

Other junior results

Northwich U12s lost to Lymm 42-7 (Ben Christie try); U11s beat Lymm 38-14 (Archie Love 4 , Danny Howman, Mike Gough tries; Sam Hunt 2, Joe Maddock, Howman cons); U9s lost to Lymm on tries 5-4 (Bradley Reid 2, George Bellis, Alex Poole).