Bold Miners 20-16 Heysham Atoms

Heysham Atoms' Stuart Lacey. Picture: Rob Shaw
Heysham Atoms' Stuart Lacey. Picture: Rob Shaw
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With so much at stake the sides could have been forgiven for going into their shells in this title decider but nothing could have been further from the truth.

In this compelling but at times brutal clash, both sides ran their blood to water in pursuit of the ultimate prize.

The game was tight and the end result was in doubt right until the final whistle with the Atoms made to pay for letting slip a commanding position.

The Heysham side still know however victory at home to Wigan Spring View this Saturday, a 2.30pm kick-off at the Trimpell, will see them promoted in second place.

A massive travelling contingent made the trip to St Helens and were treated to a performance that was full of guts and effort but in the end it wasn’t quite enough.

The crucial play of the game with four minutes remaining as the big Bold pack were camped on the Atoms line.

The Heysham defenders had kept them out heroically for what seemed like a lifetime and on the last tackle full back Jamie Cottle bravely dropped on the ball inches from the line.

The referee however called knock on to the amazement of the large crowd and from the resulting scrum the energy-sapped Atoms couldn’t hold on.

The visitors had a disrupted start as they lost prop forward Jason Short with a shoulder dislocation after one tackle.

But having joined the party earlier than expected Curtis Lacey put a real shift in for his team in this game of high intensity and drama.

Early pressure from the Atoms resulted in two goal-line drop outs after a Matty Humpage break and a kick and chase from Jack Lawton. Bold gave away a penalty and Billy Livingstone took the two points.

The next 20 minutes was a tense, physical period as Bold were given cheap field position after too many penalties and handling errors.

From there they posted their first try of the game giving the home side a 6-2 lead. The hosts came straight back on the attack and only a fantastic Cottle cover tackle close to the Atoms posts prevented the St Helens side from extending their lead.

Cottle was in the thick of the action all afternoon and he was able to get outside his marker on an arcing run sprinting away from the cover to score as the Atoms retook the lead at 8-6 just before the break.

The Atoms had the better of the opening exchanges in the second half with the work rate of the back row, Jake Harrison, Andy Garnett and Dan Helme, exemplary.

Stand off Stuart Lacey put a kick into the right hand corner and centre Dan Ginocchio acrobatically out jumped the cover and over his opposite man to score an outstanding try.

Livingstone added the extras before converting another penalty kick with just over a quarter of the game remaining.

The game turned on a key 10-minute period when the Atoms failed to capitalise on a man advantage after Bold had been reduced to 14 men with a yellow card brandished for professional foul on Jack Lawton.

Liam Hall was held up just short and Lacey was put under pressure whilst eyeing up a one pointer in what was probably the last clear-cut chance the Atoms had.

The big Bold pack found some energy and they began to pound the Atoms line as the nerves began to jangle.

Two tries in quick succession brought the scores within two points at 16-14 as the game entered the final 10 minutes.

The Atoms couldn’t get out of their own half and just as it looked like they might be on for a famous victory, Bold scored as controversy reigned.

The Atoms searched for the elusive opening but it didn’t arise as Bold put themselves in pole position to lift the title.