NORTH WEST COUNTIES PREMIER DIVISION
The Atoms first home game of the season at the Trimpell ground produced an excellent performance but more importantly a 2 massive competition points in a high quality game against top opposition.
The Atoms have had to re-group and take stock after their eye opening defeat against Haresfinch on the opening day of the league season and they started the stronger and never relinquished the lead finishing with a flurry of points in the final quarter.
All 17 Atoms players could be proud of their individual performances but the work rate of the team as a whole in all the vital areas of the game was a pleasure to watch.
The reputation of the Ashton Bears is well known as a consistent top 4 side in the premier division so this makes the manner of the Atoms victory even more pleasing.
The Atoms were able to win the key battles and maintain that standard right through the game with the hard working forwards laying a great platform in both attack and defence.
The Atoms started strongly and were soon putting pressure on the Ashton Bears line. Al Crookall forced his way over only to lose possession in the act of scoring.
The first score came on the back of a big Jason Short drive allowing Mark Walker to find Liam Hall with a reverse pass. The big fella propelled himself through the two markers to give his side an early lead.
The Atoms are finding the hard way that any error is punished in the most severe fashion and when a high, wind assisted kick off, found the floor and not an Atom, Ashton had recovered possession and scored in the blink of an eye.
The fast and frantic opening to the game continued with the Atoms going back on the attack straight away after forcing a couple of errors at the right end of the field. Liam Hall offloaded in the tackle to winger Jack Lawton who skillfully finished in the right hand corner.
There were a few contenders for Atoms try of the day and Jack Edmondson's effort was certainly in that bracket. The Atoms had the confidence to back their passing game even in their own quarter and they shifted the ball to the left. Edmondson broke away from his marker and his deceptive speed and balance took him all the way to the line for an outstanding score. Micheal Forrest added the extras for the second time before having to leave the field with a thigh injury. The Atoms were now on a roll and Billy Livingstone forced his way over from close range. As the half came to a close the Wigan side showed how dangerous a team they could be if they were allowed the time and space to play as their impressive loose forward skipped through a couple of tackles to score.
Half Time 20.10 to the Atoms
Ashton continued their good form after the break as their strong running prop put them in sight of the Atoms line. The ball was moved quickly to the left as the Atoms scrambled across but the winger scored in the corner.
Mark Walker and Liam Hall ran strongly for Jamie Cottle's try. The elusive Atoms Full Back chipped ahead, picked up the rebound and spun out of the tackle to score his 6th try in 6 games this season.
The Atoms had gained a good control of procedings but couldn't quite shake off the Wigan side. Ashton's Stand off brought them back within 8 as he put on some good footwork to score to the right of the posts as the middle defenders failed to push and fill the gaps.
Jamie Cottle made a break from inside his own half and although a tap tackle halted his progress the ball was quickly transferred to Edmondson who finished in style again for his second of the match.
Another contender for try of the match was from young hooker and man of the match Matty Humpage. He was sharp and elusive out of dummy half all afternoon and a constant threat to Ashton's defences. He dashed away from the markers on half way and then rounded the full back for good measure for a well deserved try.
The Atoms had now regained the ascendancy and a free flowing penalty move had the coach smiling as well as the recipiant Jake Harrison. 4 sharp passes were needed to put Harrison in a hole and he did the rest. This took the Atoms to 40 points but they weren't finished yet. It took a full set of 6 to go from 1 end of the field to the other with the end result being a Al Crookall try as he picked an intelligent line between 2 defenders scoring to the right of the posts. Livingstone finished the scoring with his third successful kick.
The 2 league points were so important but the manner of victory was very pleasing to the coaching staff. Also on a real positive was the return of stuart lacey to the squad and he got through 50 mins of play unscathed in his first outing of the season after injury.
J Cottle, J Lawton, D Ginocchio, J Edmondson, M Forrest, B Livingstone, D Helme, L Hall, M Humpage, J Short, Jake Harrison, A Crookall, M Walker RES Joe Harrison, C Lacey, S Lacey, D Rodriguez
Next Saturday First Team vs Wigan St Cuthberts away in the North West Mens Cup Second Round
Portrait Pools Man Of The Match 1 M Humpage 2 J Cottle 3 A Crookall