Welcome to the Premier Division
Heysham Atoms 18pts vs 38pts Harefinch
NORTH WEST COUNTIES PREMIER DIVISION
It’s taken 30 years for Heysham Atoms to reach the highest level of rugby in the north west, however no sympathy was shown by their more experienced opponents from St Helens. Haresfinch schooled the Atoms with a blistering opening quarter of rugby to blast the Atoms’ Premier Division dreams right off the park before they had even begun.
Steady work through the forwards saw Haresfinch gain valuable ground up the middle. Weak defending from the Atoms saw the Haresfinch full back open his tally for the afternoon leaving the Atoms defenders clutching at straws in his wake.
The Atoms looked to be working their way back into it having gained their most promising territorial position of the game. Second row Jake Harrison made good yards, followed by veteran prop Liam Hall who lay the platform with a typical barnstorming run, whilst Matty Humpage was constantly busy around the ruck gaving great distribution to the half backs of Billy Livingstone and Dan Helme. However, with the line barely 15m away, one of the Atoms’ backline passes was intercepted by the Haresfinch winger who raced nearly the length of the pitch in glee. A great tackle by the Atoms’ covering defence saved the line being breached, but only delayed the inevitable as Haresfinch spun it wide and crashed over unopposed in the left corner.
At 10 nil down in as many minutes, things were looking pretty bleak for the Atoms, but worse was to come. Haresfinch had their tales up and again the Atoms line was broken once more. 0-14 down at home, with only poor kicking from Haresfinch keeping their opponents' score within reach.
The second quarter saw the Atoms slowly grind their way back into the game. Matty Humpage put Al Crookall away who nearly forced his way through the defence to score. Matty Humpage ‘scooted’ himself and attempted the same, but was also thwarted. The considerable frame of Liam Hall is much more of a handful, and the same direct tactics from Hall that has been successful on so many occasions in the past, once more powered through the defensive line for a well worked try. Forrest converted to make it 6-14.
With confidence in the Atoms ranks rising, the Atoms’ backs began to click. Billy Livingstone’s cut-out pass found the Atoms’ lightening-fast winger Michael Forrest who took his opposite number on the outside and scored a delightful try in the left corner. The conversion made the score 12-14.
Replacement prop Joe Harrison came off the bench and made an immediate impact. Running off great service from the half backs, Harrison was skittling defenders and proving to be a constant thorn in the Haresfinch defence.
Haresfinch threatened to pull away again with another long-range attack. Matty Humpage was the hero of the hour tracking back to make a try saving tackle. The last action of the half nearly saw the Atoms take the lead with Forrest going close once again, but this time being beaten by the touch line.
After the break, Joe Harrison continued to make inroads with penetrating runs. Dan Ginnochio took the less direct route and danced his way past a couple of defenders to advance the Atoms’ cause. Substitute Dan Rodriguez entered the fray and soon made his presence felt by dropping the Haresfinch prop with the biggest hit of the game, much to the crowd’s delight. Curtis Lacey too was making dominating tackles in defence whilst the effervescent Mark Walker showed his versatility in attack, defence and undertaking kicking duties in open play.
In lower divisions, perhaps the Atoms’ opponents would have crumbled at this stage in the game. Harefinch however, were made of sterner stuff and absorbed the pressure from the Atoms and struck back with the killer blows. Quick fire tries in repeat sets took the score out to 12-24, with only poor kicking once again keeping the Atoms within touching distance.
The try of the game saw Jamie Cottle draw his man and set up young winger Jack Lawton down the right flank. Lawton showed his skill and pace to dance round the Haresfinch centre, and when finally caught by the full back, Lawton skilfully kept the ball alive by offloading from the floor back to Cottle who touched down under the posts.
At 18-24, the Atoms still had the game to play for, but as the clock ticked by, so did the Atoms chance of success. The final 15 minutes saw Haresfinch put another 3 tries past the deflated Atoms team, leaving a runaway score of 18-38 a fair indicator of the gulf between the sides on the day. Plenty of positives to take away for the coaching team of Winder and Helme, but plenty to work on this week in training too.
NEXT HOME GAME: 11th April @ Trimpell S&SC, 2.30PM KO. All welcome!
TEAM: 1. J Cottle 2. J Lawton 3. J Edmondson 4. Dan Ginnochio 5. M Forrest 6. Billy Livingstone 7. Dan Helme 8. Liam Hall 9. M Humpage 10. Curtis Lacey 11. Jake Harrison 12. A Crookall 13. M Walker. Res: 14. Joe Harrison 15. D Rodriguez 16. J Short 17. M Short
Portrait Pools Man Of The Match 1) Matty Humpage 2) Jamie Cottle 3) Michael Forrest