After a successful pre-season campaign it was down to league business for Heysham Atoms as they were beaten by Shevington Sharks 42-16 away from home in the North West Men’s Premier Division.
The first half was one to forget for the Atoms as they were second best in all facets of play, the only real highlight was an encouraging start from Premier League debutants Matt Mount and Kyel Dempsey who along with Mitch Chapman showed that they are certainly players to be persevered with as the season unfolds.
Within the first four minutes the Atoms had conceded their first six points as their right hand defence was opened up with alarming ease.
The senior man of the pack Mark Walker took it upon himself to drag his team into the contest as he took up numerous drives in the teeth of the Shevington defence.
Billy Livingstone pounced on a loose pass and immediatly kicked ahead for his winger Jack Lawton who picked up the ball on the run and forced his way over for the Atoms’ first try, converted by Livingstone.
The rest of the half belonged to the Wigan side as the Atoms middle defenders were targeted and three tries were leaked. The break couldn’t come soon enough for the Atoms as they trailed 24-6 and it was a chance for the coaches to patch a few things up.
A few positional changes were made and there was an emphasis on shifting the ball wider which seemed to do the trick initially with Cottle now at pivot and Helme slotting into his more favoured position of locking in at loose forward.
Jack Lawton was lively all afternoon and he was unlucky not to add a second as he was bundeled into touch by the left corner flag on a short side attack.
Centre Jack Edmondson was to be denied in the same area when the ball was forced from his grasp in the act of scoring.
This gave the Atoms a bit of hope but they failed to overcome a skinny 10 metre gap and a slow play the ball – but these are challenges that the Atoms have to work out and get over as their season progresses.
Curtis Lacey, although not quite up to match fitness, showed enough aggression into running and tackling that he will be a real force when he gets the miles in his legs.
The Atoms tried to lift the tempo and Olly Murray made some solid yards allowing the space for full back Michael Forrest to blast his way over and give the Atoms an outside chance of a comeback.
However, this was wiped out in the blink of an eye as the Atoms dropped the kick off and conceded a try in the next set which was a real sickner.
Hard working Jake Harrison tried his best to lift his side trying to claim the re-starts but each time the ball was dislodged from his grasp.
The lack of possession in the first half was now taking its toll and a spell of weak defending right down the middle of the park brought Shevington two more tries.
Centre Olly Murray was the Atoms’ most potent weapon on the day and it was only fitting he bagged the Atoms third try down the right channel.
An improvement in performance in the second 40 minues was a real positive for the Atoms only losing that phase of play by 18 points to 12 with all knowing that they can and have to do much better on a consistant basis.