North West Mens Premier Division
The Atoms consolidated their position of 4th in the Premier League with another impressive victory. Wins away from the Trimpell fortress have been more difficult to come across but the Atoms completed a 40 point double against their more illustrious opponents who finished 3rd in the league last term.
The Atoms had 9 regulars out through work commitments, injury and suspension so this was going to be a real test of what sort of strength in depth the squad possessed. The answer was firmly in the positive and after their customary slow start they found enough dominance to take the game and 2 more competition points. Sasha Sharples made a fine second half debut and Phil Riley had another impressive contribution from the bench. The key to the victory was found in the Atoms back row were all three – Al Crookall, Chris Thomas and man of the match Callum Hall – were in devastating form with and without the ball in an outstanding display.
The kick off was dropped and a handling error soon followed putting the Atoms immediately under pressure. A mix up at marker was exploited by Ashton's hooker and some less than convincing defence gave Ashton a 6 nil lead. The Atoms coach gave his side some stern words behind the posts and this seemed to do the trick as the response was immediate from his players. Prop Forwards Jack Ferguson and Curtis Lacey started to win the collisions putting the Atoms onto the front foot. After a few short charges at the line Loose Forward Al Crookall powered over for a try converted by Livingstone.
Try scoring machine Jack Edmondson went over soon after from a neat handling play ending close to the left corner flag. He nearly made it a double on the next attack scoring in the same place only to be brought back for a foot in touch.
The Atoms had some defending to do in the next passage of play and 3 sets of 6 on their own line asked a lot of questions of the Atoms defenders. Dan Ginocchio came up with a piece of unbelievable defensive skill preventing a certain score not allowing the Ashton player to ground the ball while in the act of scoring. Matthew Short bravely cleared his lines in the right hand corner as the pressure on the atoms line was finally relieved.
Winger Short pushed his side further into the lead when he intercepted on Ashton's 10 meter line and sprinted away from the cover to score a vital try which was his third of the season.
Half Time 16 . 6 to the Atoms
The Atoms had dominated most of the possession and field position in the first period but this was not reflected in the scoreline until Chris Thomas had a blistering opening spell to the second half. He scored two breakaway tries from long distance showing good pace to clear the defenders on both occasions and give the scoreboard a more realistic look at 28 . 6
If the atoms were guilty of anything it was they seemed to take their foot off the gas at this point being in such a commanding position. A number of needless penalties and an error ridden 10 mins period invited pressure on the Atoms line. The Ashton winger squeezed in at the right corner flag then a clean break by the Ashton Stand off brought them back to within touching distance at 28 . 14 with 15 mins remaining.
The Atoms regained their composure and an excellent handling move was rounded off by Edmondson taking the final pass from a Lawton offload.
A 60 yard lung busting break from Prop Curtis Lacey put the Atoms in fantastic field position and Al Crookall benefited from the holes created.
The dominance was complete as another sweeping move was finished off again by Crookall and converted by Stuart Lacey.
Portrait Pools Man Of The Match 1 Callum Hall 2 Al Crookall 3 Chris Thomas
Next Saturday the Atoms 'A' are in action at the Trimpell against Bank Quay from Warrington KO 2.30pm. All Welcome
Jack Lawton, Jake Harrison, Dan Ginocchio, Jack Edmondson, Matty Short, Stuart Lacey, Dan Helme, Jack Ferguson, Billy Livingstone, Curtis Lacey, Callum Hall, Chris Thomas, Al Crookall
RES Martin Pike, Phil Riley, Sasha Sharples, Gavin Winder.