SLIDESHOW: Heysham Atoms 18-38 Haresfinch

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It may have taken 30 years for Heysham Atoms to reach the highest level of rugby in the north west but no sympathy was shown by their more experienced opponents from St Helens on Saturday.

Haresfinch schooled the Atoms with a blistering opening quarter of rugby to blast the hosts’ Premier Division dreams right off the park before they had even begun.

Joe Harrison charges forward for Heysham Atoms against Haresfinch. Picture: Rob Shaw

Joe Harrison charges forward for Heysham Atoms against Haresfinch. Picture: Rob Shaw

Steady work through the forwards saw Haresfinch gain valuable ground up the middle with weak defending from the Atoms allowing them to open their tally for the afternoon.

The Atoms grew into the game, Jake Harrison and Liam Hall making good yards with Matty Humpage constantly busy around the ruck giving great distribution to the half backs of Billy Livingstone and Dan Helme.

However with the line barely 15 metres away, one of the Atoms’ backline passes was intercepted by a Haresfinch winger who raced nearly the length of the pitch in glee.

A great tackle by the Atoms’ covering defence saved the line being breached, but only delayed the inevitable as the St Helens side spun it wide and crashed over unopposed in the left corner.

Jamie Cottle under pressure in the Heysham Atoms' defeat on Saturday. Picture: Rob Shaw

Jamie Cottle under pressure in the Heysham Atoms' defeat on Saturday. Picture: Rob Shaw

At 10-0 down in as many minutes things were looking pretty bleak for the Atoms but worse was to come as the hosts’ line was broken again for 14-0, with poor kicking the only thing keeping the visitors within reach.

The Atoms began to slowly grind their way back into the game, Matty Humpage putting Al Crookall away who nearly forced his way through the defence to score. Humpage then himself attempted the same but was also thwarted.

The considerable frame of Hall is much more of a handful, and the same direct tactics that have been successful on so many occasions in the past, once more powered through the defensive line for a well-worked try with Michael Forrest converting for 14-6.

Things were starting to click for the hosts. Livingstone’s cut-out pass found the Atoms’ lightening-fast winger Forrest who took on his opposite number on the outside and scored a delightful try in the left corner with the conversion reducing the arrears to 14-12.

Haresfinch threatened to pull away again with another long-range attack but Humpage was on hand to make a try-saving tackle.

The last action of the half nearly saw the Atoms take the lead with Forrest going close once again, but this time being beaten by the touch line.

In the lower divisions the Atoms would have perhaps raced clear on home soil after the break.

Harefinch however, were made of sterner stuff and absorbed the pressure from the Atoms and struck back with the killer blows, quick-fire tries in repeat sets taking the score to 24-12.

The try of the game then saw Jamie Cottle draw his man and set up Atoms’ young winger Jack Lawton down the right flank.

Lawton showed his skill and pace to dance round the Haresfinch centre and when finally caught by the full back, he skilfully kept the ball alive by offloading from the floor back to Cottle who touched down under the posts.

At 24-18 the Atoms still had the game to play for, but as the clock ticked by, so did the Atoms’ chances of success.

The final 15 minutes saw Haresfinch put on another three tries past the deflated Atoms team, leaving a runaway score of 38-18 a fair indicator of the gulf between the sides on the day.