Ashton Bears 14-42 Heysham Atoms

Callum Hall was the Heysham Atoms' star man in theri win at Ashton Bears.
Callum Hall was the Heysham Atoms' star man in theri win at Ashton Bears.
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Heysham Atoms consolidated fourth position in the North West Men’s Premier League with another impressive victory – this time at Ashton Bears.

Victories away from their Trimpell home have been more difficult to come by in their debut top tier season but on Saturday they completed a 40-point double against last year’s third-place finishers.

The Atoms were missing nine regulars but showed strength in depth, recovering from their customary slow start to take the two points.

Sasha Sharples made a fine second half debut and Phil Riley had another impressive contribution from the bench but 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.

The opening kick-off was dropped and a handling error soon followed putting the Atoms immediately under pressure.

A mix-up was exploited by Ashton’s hooker and some less than convincing defence saw the hosts go into a 6-0 lead.

Heysham’s response was immediate however, loose forward Crookall powering over for a try converted by Billy Livingstone.

The in-form Jack Edmondson then went over soon after from a neat handling play and he nearly made it a double on the next attack only to be brought back for a foot in touch.

The Atoms had some defending to do in the next passage of play and Dan Ginocchio stepped up to prevent a certain score, not allowing Ashton to ground the ball.

Winger Matthew Short then pushed his side further into the lead when he intercepted on Ashton’s 10-metre line and sprinted away from the cover to score a vital try, his third of the season to give the visitors a 16-6 lead at half-time.

The Atoms’ dominance was well and truly cemented early in the second period as Thomas scored two breakaway tries from long distance to give the scoreboard a more comfortable look at 28-6.

Heysham took their foot off the gas however and an error-ridden 10 minutes saw the Bears score two quick tries to move to within touching distance at 28-14 with a quarter of an hour to play.

The visitors regained their composure however and an excellent handling move was rounded off by Edmondson before a 60-yard break from Curtis Lacey put the Atoms in fantastic field position and Crookall benefited from the holes created.

A fine victory was complete when another sweeping move was finished off again by Crookall and converted by Stuart Lacey.