Upton 30-6 Heysham Atoms

Kai Davies was the try scorer for the Heysham Atoms at Upton.
Kai Davies was the try scorer for the Heysham Atoms at Upton.

Heysham Atoms exited the National Cup at the first round stage in their first game of 2014 against a sharper West Yorkshire outfit in Upton.

The Pontefract side are still playing winter rugby and with the Atoms having only returned to training two weeks ago ahead of their third summer season, the difference in match sharpness told on the day.

This was more than evident in a scrappy first-half performance from the Atoms that left them trailing 22-6 at the break.

The second period was far more encouraging for the visitors as they only conceded eight points courtesy of a penalty goal and try right at the death which gave the scoreline a more flattering look for the hosts.

A slow Atoms start saw them 10 points down inside the quarter hour after a mix up in the defensive line and then an intercepted pass saw the winger sprint 80 metres to score.

Heysham gradually started to find their feet but a third Upton try against the run of play was scored after the Atoms defence allowed an offload before a missed tackle completed a poor passage of play.

Young hooker Matty Humpage entered the half with 15 minutes left to play and lifted the spirits with some brave runs out of dummy half as Heysham got on the board.

Stuart Lacey found a pin-point kick into the danger zone and winger Kai Davis grounded in the corner, Lacey converting from the touch line.

Upton finished the half as they had started however scoring through their stand off who chipped and chased gathering his own kick when there was no full back at home.

The Atoms were sent out in the second half determined to tighten up their defence with centre Dan Ginocchio taking it a step too far with a high shot which sparked a 26-man altercation and saw the Heysham man shown a yellow card. Upton took the easy two points on offer right in front of the posts.

The visitors to their credit tried to open the game up taking a couple of quick taps that released the strong running centre Al Crookall.

Prop Liam Hall got an offload away to Mark Walker who ran aggressively for the line, forcing his way over only to be denied in the act of scoring by having the ball stripped from his grasp.

The Atoms were now having their best period of the game with Crookall, Walker and Lacey all making half breaks but the final pass was missing.

Andrew Collins added some spice to proceedings and he also had to spend 10 mins in the sin bin after retaliating to a foul at the play the ball.

Humpage’s second spell was just as encouraging as the first and debutant Chris Strachan was also in the thick of the action.

Some good defensive work in the Atoms left corner prevented a try with Dixon and Ginocchio well to the fore but the extra man told in the end as an inside pass undid the Atoms.

Atoms: Harrison, Short, Ginocchio, Crookall, Davis, Lacey, Helme, Hall, Morrow, Short, Collins, Dixon, Walker. Replacements: Walker, Humpage, Weed, Strachan