AFTER the heroics of the last two Saturdays, The Atoms underachieved with a sloppy, untidy performance against a lively Leyland Warriors side.
The game wasn’t without incident and when a blatant trip by Leyland’s full back on Liam Hall’s charge to the line went unpunished by the referee, the game deteriorated rapidly.
So much so that the referee decided he’d seen enough and blew up five minutes early.
Leyland came out of the blocks far quicker than the Atoms and the home side failed to complete their first three sets.
This just invited pressure and Leyland took full advantage as two quick-fire, easy looking tries were posted by Leyland as they took a deserved 8-0 lead.
Captain Craig Dixon tried to drag his side out of the lethargy with a couple of telling hits.
Once The Atoms learned to look after possession they were able to gain some field position.
Gio and Anthony Livingstone combined on the left wing getting The Atoms within striking range. Liam Hall came on a short pass but was held up over the line.
The Atoms kept up the pressure however and Dave McVernon blasted his way over for his side’s first score.
Two kick and chase plays from Marrin and Lacey got the Atoms on the front foot again. McVernon sniffed the line again but offloaded close to it.
Helme put up a kick to the left wing and Anthony Livingstone was unlucky not to get the decision in the corner.
The Atoms went down to 12 when lively full back Jake Harrison was sin-binned for holding down.
This reduction in men wasn’t too costly as Leyland chose a penalty kick in front of the sticks giving them a 10-6 half-time lead.
Hooker Mike Marrin was playing well out of the acting half-back position and he spotted a gap, forcing his way over the line scoring The Atoms second try. This brought the sides level at 10 points each.
Unfortunately Leyland hit a purple patch scoring four unanswered tries all on the right edge of the Atoms’ defence.
With 15 mins remaining the Atoms finally raised the tempo of their play and started to throw the ball about with a bit of belief.
Man of the match Mike Marrin bagged himself a double burrowing his way over from dummy half.
Liam Hall scored his customary try as the momentum swung firmly in the Atoms favour with 10 mins remaining.
The game was prematurely brought to an end in a flurry of punches as confusion reigned, making next Saturday’s fixture interesting as the sides meet again.
Portrait Pools Men of the Match: 1 M Marrin 2 S Lacey 3 A Helme
Heysham Atoms: J Harrison, M Pike, S Lacey, S Middlehurst, A Livingstone, B Livingstone, A Helme, L Hall, M Marrin, C Helme, D Ginocchio, C Hall, C Dixon. Replacements: S Weed, P Ward, D McVernon, L Harvey