Orrell St James inflicted defeat on the Atoms for the third time this season on Saturday as the Heysham side were beaten 32-18. at the Trimpell.
The Atoms found themselves on the wrong end of a high penalty count and were down to 12 men twice during the game as discipline again became an issue.
The Orrell side opened started the game at a high tempo and although the Atoms were looking after the ball well, they were finding the speed of the rucks a real problem when defending.
All it took was one missed tackle and the pace of the opposition enabled them to post the first try in the Atoms’ right hand corner.
The Atoms responded almost immediately as full back Michael Forrest created space for himself to cut through a gap straight from a scrum to make it 4-4.
Orrell dominated the scoreboard in the next phase of play and were able to score two tries – one on the left wing and one on the right as the Atoms defence was stretched after going down to 12 men for the first time in the match.
Olly Murray and Jake Harrison ran strongly for the line and the latter got his arms free to off-load the ball to the supporting stand off Dan Helme, who scored to the left of the posts with Forrest converting.
At the end of the first half the Atoms went down to 12 men once more, turning around 14 points to 10 down,
The opening exchanges of the second period were just as fast and physical as the first but it was the Atoms this time that drew first blood.
Josh Whyke and Andrew Collins both made in-roads before Jamie Cottle spread the play to winger Antony Livingstone, who finished strongly in the left hand corner.
Two pieces of class created a strong position for Orrell to go on and win the game as they scored back to back tries.
The first one came from a delayed pass and a strong line of running that opened up the Atoms defensive line.
Then some quick thinking and a kick and chase early in the tackle count brought the second as both the Atoms full back and right winger were caught up in the line in the two marker positions.
The Atoms certainly weren’t finished and inspired by man of the match Leandro Kwiczor they crossed the white wash for the fourth time in the contest.
This time it was second row Callum Hall who forced his way through some heavy traffic on his way to the line.
Three penalties on the bounce marched the Atoms back all the way back to their 10 metre line and for the first time in the game they conceded a sloppy try under the posts.
The frustrations with the official continued and the final kick of the game gifted two more points as Orrell slotted over the penalty and kept their hopes alive of a league and cup double.