400 Not Out
After all the hype surrounding the latest big money, high profile, defection from league to union, there is a local success story that went in the other direction.
Heysham Atoms player Andy Helme played his 400th game on Saturday, against Leyland warriors, in a lengthly and distinguished amateur rugby career.
He started playing rugby at Ripley St Thomas school before joining The Vale of Lune representing the Colts in 1980, and making his 1st team debut in September 1983 against Otley, aged 19. He made 174 first team appearances being captain for 2 seasons and scoring 6 tries. During his union career he represented Lancashire at Colts , under 21’s and the full county culminating in a County Championship winning medal in 1991 against Cornwall at Twickenham. He also played numerous times for the England Fire Service.
In 1993 he decided to change ‘codes’ to play for The Heysham Atoms where there was a strong Fire Service influence in the team. Here in his own words he ‘fulfilled his potential as a rugby player’ mastering the art of a totally different game. His 400 appearances have included 46 tries, time as captain and player coach, as well as North Lancashire in the ‘Town Team’ competition. The Atoms were very successful in the 90’s gaining 3 consecutive promotions and he hopes this crop of youngsters coming through can emulate that side.
His career is now coming to a close at the end of the season after a few false dawns , but not before hopefully can get a game in with 16 year old son- Daniel- who has already set off on his rugby league journey representing Lancashire at under 15/16 levels.
Andy is only the second ever Heysham Atoms to reach 400 games following in the footsteps of Andy Aldren who retired a couple of seasons ago.
The picture shows Andy being presented with a glass tankard by Dave Crow coach/secretary of The Heysham Atoms.
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Main sponsor David Bland, Director of Portrait Pools
and Enclosures Ltd who have once again sponsored the Atoms with a significant
cash injection enabling the club to purchase new kit and equipment.
Heysham Atoms are pleased to announce another significant
sponsorship deal with local firm Lancashire Windows who have increased
their commitment to the club.
The new generous sponsorship agreement has enabled the entire squad
to be kitted out with smart new training jackets for the winter months
ahead, in addition to the after-match wear already sponsored by the
popular Window company.
Realising the importance of keeping warm in winter, the Lancashire
Windows spokesperson said "These jackets are the next best thing
to protecting the players from the cold after our range of windows and
Atoms' Coach Dave Crow added "The new Jackets give the club a
much more professional image, particularly for away matches where the
importance of appearing as one co-ordinated unit cannot be understated"
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