Denied final victory
Kukri North West Counties Division 3
Heysham Atoms 14 points
Irlam Horneys 16 points
For the second week in succession the Atoms pushed a top two, promotion chasing side, all the way down to the wire. As the score line suggests, there was very little to choose between the two sides which was evident in the tries scored – three a piece.
The effort of The Atoms can not be underestimated as the coaching staff had 6 players missing from last weeks heroics against Spring View and were only able to muster one replacement. The lack of interchange probably just cost them in the end as the decisive Irlam score was posted 8 mins from time. At this time The Atoms line was looking vulnerable as the energy has been sapped out of them.
The Atoms prepared well for this tough encounter with their target of improving their 40 point reverse to Irlam on the opening game of the season. The styles of the two teams were very contrasting with the Atoms playing with width and skill opposed to Irlams physical, power approach.
The Atoms withstood the early storm and a high completion rate allowed Stuart Lacy to force back the opposition into the right hand corner with some great kicking. The chases were keen and were able to force the errors. A quick play the ball from Chris Helme and a shift play towards the right wing got The Atoms within 5 yards. Marrin found Liam Hall on a short pass and The Atoms were in the lead at 4- nil.
A carbon copy set up play took The Atoms to virtually the same spot. The Atoms disguised a wide pass and that man again- Liam Hall- crashed over from the short range, 8-nil to The Atoms.
Irlam decided the best way into the game was down the aggressive route looking to smash anything in a blue shirt. This unsettled The Atoms and three successive penalties invited pressure on their own line. As last week, they repelled drive after drive with Middlehurst and Ginocchio standing up well in the left wing defence. The fatigued Atoms defence just couldn't cover an inside pass and Irlam shot over the line to make it 8-6 to the Atoms at the break.
The Atoms lone replacement was 16 year old Curtis Lacey who is a product of The Atoms junior set up. He came into a tough environment and showed enough spirit and commitment to show he is going to be a star of the future.
Irlam started off the second period with a flea in their ear from ex- Salford player Andy Burgess. The physicality increased and a shift from left to right caught out The Atoms. Their strong running replacement scoring close to the post and taking a 10 point to 8 lead.A tense 20 minutes ensued with no points scored from either side. Captain for the day Al Crookall and the outstanding Bryan Cambidge at loose forward came well to the fore.
With 13 minutes remaining The Atoms pushed themselves in the lead. Their left hand side was their preferred angle of attack. Stuart Lacey had looked dangerous all afternoon, finally made a decisive break. He showed great footwork beating five Irlam defenders on his determined charge for the line. This gave the Atoms a massive lift and looked like taking the spoils. However Irlam had different ideas and hammered The Atoms right side defence. The Atoms were holding out courageously but the energy levels were being depleted. With 8 minutes remaining Irlam regained the lead at 16 – 14 with a powerful try through some tired looking tackling. The Atoms felt they would get one more chance and this came in the form of Marrin/ Hall combination. Hall this time was denied his glory and hat trick chance being held up over the line. Irlam ran down the clock and the 2 points were theirs.
All The Atoms staff and spectators applauded their teams efforts as it was felt no more could have been put in. The Atoms can now look forward to a home mouth-watering clash against Leyland Warriors next Saturday at The Trimpell. Both sides have identical league records showing 7 wins and 7 defeats from 14 matches played so something must give on the weekend.
Next Saturday: Leyland Warriors at home. Kick off 2:30 pm - all welcome.
Portrait Pools.com Men of the Match:
1. Bryan Cambidge
2. Mike Marrin
3. Stuart Lacey
Heysham Atoms: J. Harrison, M. Pike, A. Crookall, S. Lacey, S. Middlehurst, B. Livingstone, A. Helme,
L. Hall, M. Marrin, C. Helme, S. Weed, D. Ginocchio, B. Cambidge, RES. C Lacey
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