Atoms Trip up in Helm's 400th Appeareance
Kukri North West Counties Division 3
Heysham Atoms 20 points
Leyland Warriors 32 points
After the heroics of the last 2 Saturdays The Atoms underachieved with a sloppy, untidy performance against a lively Leyland Warriors side. The game wasn't without incident and when a blatant trip by Leyland's full back on Liam Hall’s charge to the line went unpunished by the referee , the game deteriorated rapidly. So much so that the referee decided he’d seen enough and blew up 5 mins early.
Leyland came out of the blocks far quicker than the Atoms and the Atoms were compounded with none of the first 3 sets completed. This just invites pressure and Leyland took full advantage . Two quick fire , easy looking tries were posted by Leyland taking as deserved 8 nil lead.
Captain Craig Dixon tried to drag his side out of the lethargy with a couple of telling hits. Once The Atoms learned to look after possession they were able to gain some field position. Gio and Anthony Livingstone combined on the left wing getting The Atoms within striking range . Liam Hall came on a short pass but was held up over the line.The pressure was maintained and Dave McVernon blasted his way over for the Atoms first score.
Two kick and chase plays from Marrin and Lacey got the Atoms on the front foot again. McVernon sniffed the line again but offload close to the line. Helme put up a ‘bomb’ to the left wing and Anthony Livingstone was unlucky not to get the decision in the corner.
The Atoms went down to 12 when lively full back Jake Harrison was sin-binned for holding down. This reduction in men wasn't too costly as Leyland chose a penalty kick in front of the sticks giving them a 10-6 half time lead.
Hooker Mike Marrin was ‘jumping’ well out of the acting half back and he spotted a gap, forcing his way over the line scoring The Atoms second try. This brought the sides level at 10 all and an optimism that the Atoms could push on from here.
Unfortunately Leyland hit a purple patch scoring four, unanswered tries all on the right edge defence of the Atoms. The Atoms became increasingly frustrated as their tackle/wrestle technique was pulled apart by the referee. With 15 mins remaining the Atoms finally got the tempo of their play raised and started to throw the ball about with a bit of belief again. Man of the match Mike Marrin bagged himself a ‘double’ burrowing his way over the dummy half.
Liam hall scored his customary try as the momentum swung firmly in the Atoms favour, with 10 mins remaining. The game was prematurely brought to an end in a flurry of punches as confusion reigned. Next Saturday should be interesting as both sides play each other again in a quick turn-around.
Portrait Pools.com Men of the Match:
1. Mike Marrin
2. Stuart Lacey
3. Andy Helme
Heysham Atoms:J Harrison, M Pike, S Lacey, S Middlehurst, A Livingstone, B Livingstone, A Helme, L Hall, M Marrin, C Helme, D Ginocchio, C Hall, C Dixon, RES. S Weed, P Ward, D McVernon, L Harvey
400 Not Out
After all the hype surrounding the latest big money, high profile, defection from league to union, there is a local success story that went in the other direction.
Heysham Atoms player Andy Helme played his 400th game on Saturday, against Leyland warriors, in a lengthly and distinguished amateur rugby career.
He started playing rugby at Ripley St Thomas school before joining The Vale of Lune representing the Colts in 1980, and making his 1st team debut in September 1983 against Otley, aged 19. He made 174 first team appearances being captain for 2 seasons and scoring 6 tries. During his union career he represented Lancashire at Colts , under 21’s and the full county culminating in a County Championship winning medal in 1991 against Cornwall at Twickenham. He also played numerous times for the England Fire Service.
In 1993 he decided to change ‘codes’ to play for The Heysham Atoms where there was a strong Fire Service influence in the team. Here in his own words he ‘fulfilled his potential as a rugby player’ mastering the art of a totally different game. His 400 appearances have included 46 tries, time as captain and player coach, as well as North Lancashire in the ‘Town Team’ competition. The Atoms were very successful in the 90’s gaining 3 consecutive promotions and he hopes this crop of youngsters coming through can emulate that side.
His career is now coming to a close at the end of the season after a few false dawns , but not before hopefully can get a game in with 16 year old son- Daniel- who has already set off on his rugby league journey representing Lancashire at under 15/16 levels.
Andy is only the second ever Heysham Atoms to reach 400 games following in the footsteps of Andy Aldren who retired a couple of seasons ago.
The picture shows Andy being presented with a glass tankard by Dave Crow coach/secretary of The Heysham Atoms.
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