Shevington Sharks 16-24 Heysham Atoms
The Atoms halted a six-game losing streak with a morale-boosting victory that was hard fought in every sense of the word.
With the Trimpell club’s coaching staff able to call on their strongest side the Heysham outfit completed the double over their Wigan rivals and will hope it is a stepping stone to better things in the second half of the season.
The Atoms have often started games slowly this season but got it right on Saturday.
Within three minutes they had opened their account as the returning Olly Murray made an immediate impact scoring from a cut-out pass from hooker Josh Whyke.
With Billy Livingstone unavailable Micheal Forrest took over the kicking duties and duly obliged with the two extra points.
The try gave the Atoms confidence to push on and they continued to attack with a real purpose. Jamie Cottle started to dictate play using his big forwards to make progress.
A spin out of the tackle and a quick play the ball by prop Jason Short got the Atoms within five yards of the Shevington line and Liam Hall crashed over on the next play to give his side a 12-0 lead.
Experienced duo Al Crookall and Mark Walker were then brought into the game sooner than expected as the injury curse hit Matt Mount and Whyke as they hobbled off with ankle injuries.
On the 25-minute mark Shevington got their attack going down the Atoms’ left wing and with Jack Edmondson down injured the quick-thinking hosts scored close to the corner flag.
A spate of Atoms penalties put the Heysham side under pressure. Shevington taking full advantage with their scrum half finding a gap before a third try in quick succession put them in front 16-12 with five minutes to the break.
The Atoms rallied just before half time and Jake Harrison set off on a clean break that took him from 50 metres out and he had enough pace and skill to round the defenders and finish off the move for a crucially timed try and an 18-16 half-time lead. Shevington then conceded three penalties on the trot at the start of the second half and after the Atoms had moved within striking range, Harrison’s excellent footwork saw him grab his second try.
The game was then bogged down in some feisty exchanges before Dan Helme restored some order with a drop goal to give the Atoms a seven-point lead with eight minutes to play.
Another coming together between the two sides after Michael Forrest had been taken out off the ball preceded the Heysham side’s next score.
Hall ran over the top of a couple of defenders, finally being dragged down in front of the posts, handing Helme prime position to kick his second drop goal of the contest giving his side an eight-point cushion.
Edmondson then came up with a huge tackle on Shevington’s loose forward who had been a danger man all afternoon as the Atoms held their nerve and won their first league game away from the Trimpell this season, the hosts failing to score in the second 40 minutes.
The Atoms next host Haresfich on Saturday, June 24.