Heysham Atoms put in a promising performance against reigning Premier Division champions Thatto Heath Crusaders at the weekend, despite losing 16-10.
Thatto Heath started positively against an Atoms side that have a habit of conceding early tries.
Within five minutes the Atoms were behind as Thatto opened up their strong right side attack – the ball went to the winger and he finished off the move close to the corner flag.
Prop forward Callum Hall carried strongly as the lighter, more mobile Atoms pack began to get a foothold in the game.
Michael Forrest was relishing his new role in the loose forward position, catching the eye with his increased work rate especially in defence around the middle of the park.
Thatto like to play to the edges and this time they opened up the opposite wing to score their second and take an 8-0 lead after 16 minutes.
The second quarter saw the Atoms have some concerted pressure on Thatto’s line, only for some wrong attacking decisions thwarting their attempts to score.
Finally, a loose kick found its way to the ever alert Jamie Cottle and he grounded close to the left stick for a try converted by Forrest as the Atoms trailed 8-6 at half-time.
Some excellent defensive work by winger Kyel Dempsey and centre Jack Edmonson showed that the Atoms were up for this game as Thatto again stretched them wide with good ball movement.
The Atoms half back combination of Dan Helme and Jake Harrison always posed a running threat but the home side were now beginning to play with more width as the passing game began to improve.
Both defences were on top at this stage so when the penalty kicks were offered both teams took them.
The Atoms, through Forrest, took two and Thatto took one to lock the sides up at 10-10 with less than a quarter of the game remaining.
Dan Rodriguez and his second row partner Callum Brodie worked tirelessly throughout, pushing the Atoms forward, but that next vital score just eluded them.
The decisive moment came with 11 minutes remaining as Thatto again undid the Atoms out wide again on the right wing, scoring their third try and more importantly gaining a six-point cushion.
The Atoms found some real energy as the clock ticked by but couldn’t make the break through and the points went to the St Helens side.
l Heysham Atoms’ Under 11s team were also in action at the weekend, beating Bank Quay Bulls 32-12 to maintain their unbeaten start to the season.
Harvey Davison, Sam Wheeler, Nathan Daniel, Zac Howarth (2), Ciaron Fell and Josiah Helme all recorded tries, while Connor Hall and Helme also chipped in with their conversions.