Atoms bow out of National Cup with heads held high
North West Counties Challenge Cup Round One
Heysham Atoms 16 points
Wigan St. Patrick's 26 points
The cup games always throw up interesting ties and when The Atoms were drawn against St Patrick's a few eyebrows were raised in anticipation.
Wigan St Patrick's are the most decorated amateur club in the game producing more professional players than any other club. The history is immense with the likes of Shaun Edwards, Andy Gregory, Phil Clarke and Dennis Betts to name but a few but the conveyer belt of talent still remains with the Tomkins Brothers, Darryl Goulding and Sean O'Loughlin are current internations to have graced this club.
The task was a big one but not one that couldn't be overcome and the Atoms entered the game in a quiet confident mood. The Atoms big guns were missing as Liam and Callum Hall, Mark Walker and Mike Marrin remained on the sidelines but their replacements can be proud of their efforts.
The Atoms first six sets were completed which was a coaches dream, setting the tone for an enthusiastic performance . On the back of these completed sets the Atoms created the opening score. An attack down the right was haltede but the ball was transferred to the middle of the park where Dan Ginocchio found Keith Hartlebury on a flat pass. Hartlebury hit the line at pace, did a little juggling act with the ball and scored The Atoms first try converted by Livingstone.
The Atoms defense was being asked alot of questions, but a good speed of line movement and excellent technique was working well. Such was the quality of the opposition that one slight error in defensive alignment was exploited to the full bringing the scores to 6 all at the break.
the game had been tight as a drum up until half time but the ten minute period after the break was decisive in the outcome of the game. St Pats had a real purple patch , offloading the ball at will and stretching The Atoms from side to side. They scored 3 tries in this blistering spell just nudging them into a winning position.
The Atoms just never know when they are beaten and always play with enthusiasm whatever the score. Steve maddison made his debut last week at Spring View being on the end of a couple of big hits. He learned quickly from his experiences and it was his turn to dish out some punishment with a couple of great hits.
The momentum swung back to The Atoms as Cambidge and Lacey returned fromn the bench. Simon Middlehurst made a clean break down the left wing putting The Atoms within touching distance of St Pats line. Billy Livingstone chipped and chased and as last week the result was the same scoring close to the posts showing greta vision.
Martin Pike made a break out of defense that took The Atoms over the half way line. The dangerous Al Crookall continued the move to within 10 yards of the St Pats line. Andy Helme and Dave McVernon executed a superbly timed play with the latter blasting over the line that was rewards for his efforts during the afternoon.
With time running out The Atoms attacked from everywhere but the St Pats line could not be breeched again.
This was an outstanding match that was hard fought and fierce but played in an excellent spirit that was a great advert for the sport at this level. A special mention Mr Smithies the referee who played advantage to the full and allowed the game to flow which was appreciated by the players and spectators alike.
Portrait Pools Man of The Match
1 Craig Dixon 2 Dave McVernon 3 Billy Livingstone
J Harrison, G Winder, A Crookall, S Middlehurst, A Livingstone, S Lacey, B Livingstone, D McVernon, A Helme, K Hartlebury, M Pike, D Ginnochio, C Dixon (Capt), RES. B Cambidge, C Helme, S Weed, S Maddison.
Next Saturday Atoms vs Burtonwood Bridge away in the league kick off 2pm
L Hall - 200 games
S Lacey - 50 games
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