The performances of the Heysham Atoms continued to improve as they pushed the league favourites Orrell St James all the way on Saturday at the Trimpell.
Henry Higginson put the Atoms into the lead with a penalty goal from in front of the posts which was nothing more than they deserved for the start they had made.
The quality of Orrell soon shone through as a handling error by the Atoms on Orrell’s line followed by a penalty gave them good field position.
A swift handling move put the winger away in the right hand corner and gave the visitors a 4-2 lead.
The Atoms went back on the offensive and retook a slender lead as Kyel Dempsey scored his second try of the season on the back of good forward play prompted by influential hooker Dan Helme.
On 29 minutes Orrell went back to were they had previous success and were rewarded with a second try down the right wing as a one-man overlap was created.
This was the last score of an absorbing half of rugby league with Orrell just edging it 8-6.
The first real action of the second half saw centre Jack Edmondson break right down the middle of the park with his progress only halted by a professional foul.
Higginson, for the second time, banged over the two-point penalty and the sides were locked up again at 8-8.
Stuart Lacey’s kicking game and the work rate of forwards Leandro Kwiczor and Callum Hall was keeping the Atoms at the right end of the field but they just didn’t have the guile to open up a solid defensive wall.
The turning point in the game came mid-way through the second half as the Atoms launched an attack from halfway, only for the ball to hit the floor wide out on the left.
The ball was gratefully picked up by an Orrell player who raced away to score and give them a four-point cushion.
The final 20 minutes saw Orrell score two more chances with the Atoms defence looking particularly jaded around the ruck area. The Atoms were encouraged by a late surge but just couldn’t find that elusive passing combination that was required to open up a stubborn Orrell defence.