Heysham Atoms and Ulverston once again couldn’t be separated after a second hard-fought draw of the season on Saturday.
After an 18 a piece stalemate at the Trimpell earlier in the campaign the teams shared the points in a feisty affair in Cumbria.
In a physical clash tempers boiled over on the stroke of half-time with all 26 players becoming embroiled in full-scale brawl which saw the Atoms’ Stuart Lacey and the Ulverston full back sent to the sin bin for 10 minutes.
After a fast start the visitors nearly drew first blood. Some good scrummaging set up the Atoms and Bryan Cambidge went over on the third drive but was held up by the Ulverston defence.
It was left to the in-form Lacey to get the scoreboard moving, a delicate chip bounced in his favour which allowed him to score close to the right-hand upright. Billy Livingstone added the conversion to put the Atoms 6-0 to the good.
The visitors then had a golden chance to go further ahead but after Jake Harrison had pounced on a loose ball and run 60 yards to seemingly score unopposed he dropped the ball over the line as he went to put it down.
After this the momentum shifted. with Ulverston exerting a sustained period of pressure on the Atoms line.
Aussie Gerard Saddler pulled off a try-saving tackle and more good defence from the pack kept the Cumbrian side at bay but the inevitable score came, as some missed tackles saw the hosts squeeze over in the corner.
The kick was missed meaning the Atoms held a two-point lead at half-time with both sides temporarily reduced to 12 following the bout of fisticuffs.
Despite some frustration at the officiating, the Atoms extended their lead in the second half, the club’s all-time leading try scorer Cambidge scoring close to the corner.
Livingstone missed the conversion giving the Atoms a six-point advantage entering the final stage of the game.
It wasn’t to last long however as the home side scored close to the posts, the successful extra points levelling things up.
The Atoms’ frustrations were compounded as a Lacey drop goal that would have brought a match-winning one point was ruled out for an infringement meaning they had to settle for a share of the spoils.
Heysham travel to Leigh East, one place below them in the table in fifth, next Saturday.