Ashton Bears 14-42 Heysham Atoms

Callum Hall was the Heysham Atoms' star man in theri win at Ashton Bears.
Callum Hall was the Heysham Atoms' star man in theri win at Ashton Bears.

Heysham Atoms consolidated fourth position in the North West Men’s Premier League with another impressive victory – this time at Ashton Bears.

Victories away from their Trimpell home have been more difficult to come by in their debut top tier season but on Saturday they completed a 40-point double against last year’s third-place finishers.

The Atoms were missing nine regulars but showed strength in depth, recovering from their customary slow start to take the two points.

Sasha Sharples made a fine second half debut and Phil Riley had another impressive contribution from the bench but the key to the victory was found in the Atoms back row were all three – Al Crookall, Chris Thomas and man of the match Callum Hall – were in devastating form with and without the ball.

The opening kick-off was dropped and a handling error soon followed putting the Atoms immediately under pressure.

A mix-up was exploited by Ashton’s hooker and some less than convincing defence saw the hosts go into a 6-0 lead.

Heysham’s response was immediate however, loose forward Crookall powering over for a try converted by Billy Livingstone.

The in-form Jack Edmondson then went over soon after from a neat handling play and he nearly made it a double on the next attack only to be brought back for a foot in touch.

The Atoms had some defending to do in the next passage of play and Dan Ginocchio stepped up to prevent a certain score, not allowing Ashton to ground the ball.

Winger Matthew Short then pushed his side further into the lead when he intercepted on Ashton’s 10-metre line and sprinted away from the cover to score a vital try, his third of the season to give the visitors a 16-6 lead at half-time.

The Atoms’ dominance was well and truly cemented early in the second period as Thomas scored two breakaway tries from long distance to give the scoreboard a more comfortable look at 28-6.

Heysham took their foot off the gas however and an error-ridden 10 minutes saw the Bears score two quick tries to move to within touching distance at 28-14 with a quarter of an hour to play.

The visitors regained their composure however and an excellent handling move was rounded off by Edmondson before a 60-yard break from Curtis Lacey put the Atoms in fantastic field position and Crookall benefited from the holes created.

A fine victory was complete when another sweeping move was finished off again by Crookall and converted by Stuart Lacey.