Heysham Atoms 18-37 Ashton Bears

Andrew Collins stretches to score. Picture: Tony North
Andrew Collins stretches to score. Picture: Tony North

Heysham Atoms came up short in their bid to reach the semi-finals of the North West Men’s Cup as they went down to Ashton Bears.

Despite an impressive season on home soil the Atoms couldn’t repeat the form that saw them see off Thatto Heath in the league seven days earlier, losing to Ashton for the second time in recent weeks.

Michael Forrest finds himself in a tight spot. Picture: Tony North

Michael Forrest finds himself in a tight spot. Picture: Tony North

The game opened as a cagey affair with the visitors to the Trimpell drawing first blood as they crossed for the opening score, reacting first to a fumble after a fine drive from their right centre.

The Atoms responded by pressurising the Ashton line with Mark Walker, Liam Hall and then Michael Forrest all held up just short.

The inspiration came from the bench on 25 minutes as man of the match Andrew Collins was introduced to the action.

His first touch resulted in a try as a strong run ended right under the posts giving Stuart Lacey an easy shot at the two points.

The lead was shortlived however as a high tackle relieved the pressure on Ashton’s line.

The visitors cleared forwards and marched the Atoms back the full length towards their own line before going over for a soft try as Ashton turned around 8-6 in front.

The Atoms couldn’t replicate the comeback from a week earlier against Thatto Heath with Ashton taking the game by the scruff of the neck.

Heysham didn’t make life easy for themselves and were guilty of repeated infringements at the play the ball as they gifted good field position to the opposition.

Ashton exploited the inexperienced defenders, scoring three back-to-back tries to cement a 24-6 lead.

Seventeen minutes into the half second rower Curtis Lacey gave the Atoms a lifeline as he crashed over the line with two defenders on his back for his third try of the season after a fine run from Collins.

The excitement was shortlived however as two more long-range Ashton breaks resulted in tries dashing all hopes of an Atoms comeback.

The hosts did score the final try of the afternoon, Jake Harrison and Mike Marrin forcing a turnover from which Michael Forrest worked his way around a couple of defenders to go under the posts for a converted try.

Ashton brought a close to proceedings with a drop goal close to the final whistle.