Heysham Atoms finished their historic season with defeat in the North West Men’s League Division One Grand Final against Bold Miners.
The clash at the Select Security Stadium, home of Super League Widnes Vikings, wasn’t for the faint hearted with the winner in doubt until the final minutes as had been the case in the games between the top two sides in the regular season.
The Atoms lost both of those battles as Bold took the title and it was the St Helens side who had the early advantage with a nervy Heysham side allowing a number of penalties which meant they played the first half on the back foot.
They were perhaps fortunate to only concede one try before they settled and made chances of their own.
Man of the match Jamie Cottle consistently put his side on the front foot while Mark Walker combined his powerful running with some tidy handling plays and Jake Harrison made some telling last-ditch tackles.
Hooker Matty Humpage came off the bench with a quarter of the game gone and made an immediate impact scoring with his first dummy half run after spotting a gap superbly. Billy Livingstone made it 6-6 with the conversion.
As the half was coming to a close the Atoms attacked through Walker, Stuart Lacey and Cottle but unfortunately the ball was lost in contact and the Bold full back sprinted 90 meters up field to score under the posts and put his side back in front.
The Atoms youngsters on the bench all came on with Jack Edmondson particularly catching the eye with his strong, direct running.
Bold however extended their lead when their stand off squeezed through some less than convincing Heysham defending to make it 18-6. The Atoms were fighting hard however and were next to score with Edmondson quickest to react to a loose ball, sprinting over the line for a much-need try.
The St Helens side however were keeping their distance again hitting back with a score of their own after their influential loose forward broke down centre field to take advantage of some more friendly Atoms defence.
Andrew Helme’s side kept coming though and had the energy for another enthusiastic fight back.
First Liam Hall propelled himself onto a short Mark Walker pass smashing his way over the line for his 16th try of the season.
Cottle then inspired his side with a blistering run out of defence feeding off a sublime Walker offload in the tackle. He was just caught by his opposite number 10 yards from the line but the Atoms swiftly moved the ball to the left and centre Andrew Collins also created space with an offload out of the tackle to Livingstone who forced his way over the line.
The conversion from the try scorer brought the Atoms to within two points with 12 minutes left on the clock.
The next score was vital and sadly for the battling Heysham outfit it fell to Bold as they held their nerve, the St Helens side’s scrum half going over for his second try.
It left the Atoms needing two scores with just seven minutes left.
Collins made an excellent break down his centre channel only to be halted 10 yards from the line.
The Atoms couldn’t find a way through and it was Bold who finished off with a six pointer with the last play of the game giving the scoreline a flattering look as a memorable campaign came to an end.