Ashton Bears 12-18 Heysham Atoms

Atoms Billy Livingstone on target. Picture: Tony North.
Atoms Billy Livingstone on target. Picture: Tony North.

Heysham Atoms maintained their Premier League status for another season with a hard-fought victory away at Ashton Bears from Wigan.

The Atoms had prepared well and came out in determined mood, on a heavy pitch, to take it to the opposition and a dog fight of a game ensued.

Second row Jake Harrison made light work of the heavy conditions under foot however, making the first clean break of the game right down the middle of the field.

The ball was passed back to the right but the move ended with an unforced handling error.

Wingman Antony Livingstone was next to make a break but he was floored with a heavy hit that saw him take no further part in proceedings.

Dan Rodriguez replaced him on the right wing and although he was not accustomed to this role he coped admirably, putting in a strong performance for his team.

The nerves were eased somewhat when Andrew Collins made a break through the centre, touching down for a try which was converted by Billy Livingstone.

Mark Walker and Dan Helme were making some impressive yards down the middle channel, which drew the defenders in and allowed more room out wide.

Centre Jack Edmondson took advantage of this extra space, making a deep insertion down the right. Mark Walker propelled himself over the line but was held up.

The Atoms couldn’t capitalise on this period of pressure and the Bears came roaring back with a try of their own, scoring to the left of the posts to make it 6-6.

Jamie Cottle was a constant running threat and he nudged the Atoms back into the lead as he cut across the face of the defensive line, picking a hole and finishing with a try on the 35 minute mark, again converted by Livingstone to give his side a 12-6 half-time lead.

The Atoms started the second period in the same fashion, again using their forwards to get Ashton on the back foot.

Edmondson scored his 12th try of the season on the back of some good work from hooker Josh Whyke, giving the Atoms a 16-6 lead.

Ashton then benefited from a raft of penalties as the pressure mounted on the Atoms, but some outstanding goal line defending, especially from Callum Hall, Al Crookall and Josh O’Donnell, made sure no tries were conceded.

Michael Forrest, at full back, dealt with the now slippy ball, clearing his lines well and making good yards out of defence.

Jake Harrison was in fine form all afternoon with his footwork proving especially difficult to handle.

The Atoms pushed the score to 18 -6 with a penalty goal from Livingstone with 12 minutes remaining, and this should have been enough to see them home, but a nervous ending was all part of the script.

Ashton scored their second try of the game wide out on the Atoms’ right which was converted to take it to 18-12 with a couple of minutes remaining.

Fortunately for the Atoms, that was the last of the scoring and they can now look forward to another season playing Premier Division rugby league.