The Heysham Atoms came from behind to pick up a hard-fought victory against Salford’s Irlam Hornets at the Trimpell on Saturday.
The hosts knew they were going to be in for a tough afternoon having been on the wrong end of a 40-point beating at the hands of the same opposition in the opening game of the season.
The Atoms weren’t disappointed as they had to turn around a half-time deficit for victory in their most physically demanding game of the season so far.
The fired-up home side started the game strongly and within five minutes Liam Hall had crashed over from short range with Billy Livingstone adding the extra two points.
The visitors were next on the scoreboard as they scored off a repeat set as the Atoms’ line came under siege.
Heysham regrouped and tried to tighten things up but after losing influential second row Callum Hall to a dislocated shoulder Irlam went over as the Atoms reorganised to go into half-time 10-6 to the good.
The Atoms knew they had to dig deep and Liam Hall grabbed his second try to bring the scores level at 10-10 shortly after the restart.
Irlam however hit back with the next score after an Atoms mistake and some less than convincing defending.
Curtis Lacey was having a fine second half for the hosts however and his efforts were rewarded with a try as he showed good footwork and awareness close to the line.
Al Crookall’s free-running style then brought him a try after a well-placed Stuart Lacey kick had been chased down to force a goal line drop out.
Shortly after Crookall was unlucky not to double his tally as he was held up over the line by some desperate defending.
Despite the Atoms’ pressure the game continued to be end-to-end with Irlam going up the other end to retake the lead at 22-18 with a quarter of an hour to play.
The next Atoms play turned out to be the pivotal moment in the game however as centre Andrew Collins set off on a weaving in-field run before accelerating into a gap and outpacing five Irlam defenders as he scored close to the right-hand stick for a vital score.
Livingstone kicked the goal to give the Atoms a 24-22 lead and put the momentum firmly in their favour.
Liam Hall then completed a well deserved hat-trick on the back of great work from full back Jack Lawton before Crookall created space for centre Dan Ginocchio to score in the right-hand corner to seal a fantastic Atoms victory in the context of their season.