Heysham Atoms 48pts vs 8pts Shevington Sharks
North West Mens Premier Division
The Heysham Atoms had what looked like on paper to be the severest test to date at the Trimpell ground but they put in a magnificent team performance to come through with flying colours.
Shevington's last 2 victories have made everyone sit up and take notice by ' nilling ' Folly Lane on their own patch and then dumping favorites Widnes St Maries out of the North West mens cup at the semi final stage last weekend. These victories focused the minds of the Atoms players and coaches as to what to expect and the the quality of opposition travelling up the M6 to Morecambe.
After a very tight first half that the Atoms had just edged 10 pts to 8 they romped away with it in the second period scoring 38 unanswered points. Victory was based on the foundations laid in the first half working so hard in the defensive side of their game. The Atoms middle section especially showed great determination and aggression in the contact areas which ultimately took so much out of the opposition, allowing the Atoms to pull away with some clinical finishing in the closing stages.
The Atoms started brightly forcing a handling error on the third tackle of the game. Play was moved quickly to the left and Captain Liam Hall crashed through the middle of the ruck with barely 2 mins on the clock.
Jake Harrison inspired his side with a couple of strong drives through the right centre channel as the two sides locked horns in the quest for dominance and field position. It was important that the intensity didn't drop and Jason Short and Joe Harrison came on from the inter-change bench and kept the effort and enthusiasm at the same level.
An Atoms kick to the right of the posts was fielded by the Shevington full back and he tried to escape the clutches of the Atoms chasers as they tried to trap him in his in-goal area. He did well to get back in the field of play but the ferocity of the Atoms challenge dislodged the ball and the alert Jack Lawton picked up the loose ball and placed the ball over the line.
The Wigan side had the last shout of the half when a kick was not dealt with by the Atoms back 3. The bouncing ball ended in the try zone and a Shevington player was the quickest to react scoring the try that gave the Atoms a slender 10 pts to 8 lead at the break.
The Atoms started the second half defending their line superbly as the pressure came on. Again the solid defence forced an error and they were able to clear their lines and a Lacey kick at the end of the set nearly resulted in a Forrest try as the exciting young full back just failed to touch the ball down before it went past the dead ball line.
The punishing defence continued as Jack Edmondson forced another error with great contact into another tackle. A flowing attack to the right took play close to the line and hooker for the day Mark Walker found Al Crookall with a reverse pass and he scored the first Atoms points of the half.
A good passage of Atoms passing gave man of the match Callum Hall enough space to show his determination to get to the line with good footwork and cross for his 4th try of the season.
At 26 pts to 8 the Atoms had got themselves in an excellent position but there was still a quarter of the game remaining and any lack of concentration could have proved costly. From this point on the Atoms opened up in spectacular fashion against a now shot at Shevington side that had been on the back foot for most of the half.
Chris Thomas's fine try scoring form continued as he crashed over to the left of the posts. Michael Forrest was involved in most of the Atoms attacks and his speed and evasion skills brought him a fine individual try. He was a real attacking threat all afternoon and he is really living up to his potential and the faith that the coaching staff have him.
Olly Murray returned to the squad after representing Scotland at Student and Under 19 levels and he adds another dimension to the Atoms young but very exciting back division.
Al Crookall finished off the try scoring picking a fine inside line of running after the Atoms handling had again caused no end of problems to the Shevington line. Stuart Lacey converted for the 6th time in the game to give the Atoms a very impressive 48 pts to 8 victory.
Portrait Pools Man of the Match 1 Callum Hall 2 Michael Forrest 3 Chris Thomas