STEVE Barnes was Royal London’s hero as he helped the underdogs defeat Knutsford and District Amateur League champions Mobberley A in the Team Knockout Cup.

The Division One pacesetters had reduced a handicap deficit to four points before Barnes played averages leader Steve Flinders in the contest’s final frame on Thursday.

However he held his nerve as the Division Two outfit won by a margin of 53, reserving a quarter finals place as a reward.

Five of the remaining eight spots in the competition will be filled by sides from the league’s second tier.

Back-markers Mere C, without a win in Division Two this season, edged higher-ranked Brook Street A by 17 points while fellow strugglers Brook Street B defeated Wilmslow Cons B by 59.

Promotion hopefuls Shaw Heath B qualified without a fuss at the expense of Mobberley E, while Mere B made sure it was a miserable night for Mobberley after sending out that club’s B team.

Morley, conquerors of Mere A, are the highest-ranked side to go through. Division One rivals Wilmslow RBL, who eased past Mobberley D, will join them.

Wilmslow Cons A had a bye.

Results Team Knockout Cup last 16, Thursday (handicap in brackets): Brook Street A (100) 510 Mere C (250) 527; Mobberley B (40) 392 Mere B (180) 447; Morley (160) 496 Mere A (200) 475; Royal London (220) 484 Mobberley A (scr) 431; Shaw Heath B (190) 526 Mobberley E (230) 454; Wilmslow Cons B (80) 443 Brook Street B (260) 502; Wilmslow RBL (120) 478 Mobberley D (210) 389. Bye: Wilmslow Cons A.

Draw Quarter finals (to be played March 5): Mere B v Royal London at Mobberley; Mere C v Brook Street B at Wilmslow Cons; Morley v Shaw Heath B at Brook Street; Wilmslow Cons A v Wilmslow RBL at Morley.