The Heysham Atoms’ push for promotion continued with a ruthless victory away at Leigh East on Saturday.
With the late withdrawal of their regular hooker The Atoms promoted their 16-year-old starlet Matty Humpage up to the crucial pivotal position.
He repaid the faith shown in him with an outstanding individual performance, showing an eye for an opening backed up with lightening speed off the mark.
Although lean in build he lacks nothing in confidence and determination and was rightly named man of the match.
The game opened up, the same way as so many this season, with The Atoms exerting early pressure.
Two penalties helped them to get within range and Liam Hall was held up over the line.
A kick and chase nearly brought the opening score for Leigh, only for a desperate try-saving tackle from centre Dan Ginocchio dislodging the ball in the act of scoring.
Al Crookall moved up to the second row and this change was rewarded with the first try.
Humpage made a 40-yard break down the middle of the ruck, Mark Walker continued the charge for the line and Liam Hall forced his way over from his favoured set play for the next score.
Leigh’s attack was mainly down The Atoms’ left and another knock on over the line added to their frustrations.
Centre Jamie Cottle showed good awareness, spinning out of a tackle and giving The Atoms a 14-point lead with 20 minutes played.
Ginocchio and Short showed some great commitment in defence, pushing the centre into touch on a dangerous looking attack off the back of a scrum. Another big break from Humpage split open the Leigh East defence, Stuart Lacey benefitted from the confusion and beat the full back on a 40-yard try-scoring run.
Simple but effective was the description of The Atoms’ final try of the half as, firstly, full back Jake Harrison made a huge kick return, three forward drives took The Atoms to within range and Al Crookall completed the move for his second try of the game.
As the teams went in for half-time The Atoms led s 26-0 .
For the third time in the game the Leigh side got over the line but couldn’t place the ball down as they started the half in enterprising fashion.
Any hopes of a come back were dashed though as the referee lost patience with Leigh’s prop who had a spell of 10 minutes on the sidelines for repeated head high tackles.
The Atoms made their one-man advantage pay as stand off Stuart Lacey took the ball to the line, throwing a dummy and striding over the line.
Jake Harrison made the next Atoms clean break, setting up Mark Walker to power over close to the posts.
Three excellent pieces of defending from Davis, Helme and Cottle kept Easts at bay but finally they got over the line through their hard-working scrum half again from a kick and chase.
Another Atoms youngster, Kai Davis, was given his chance to play and he too showed what a good prospect he is, confidently breaking the line and scoring direct from the scrum.
Leigh had their best phase of the game and their centre scored their second try out on The Atoms’ left.
Liam Hall scored his second of the match taking the scoring pass from loose forward Mark Walker and Stuart Lacey made it a personal total of 22 points with his seventh successful kick.
Leigh East finished off the scoring in The Atoms’ right-hand corner with their third try, but it was the visitors who took the victory.