Heysham Atoms had a break from Premiership action on Saturday and were beaten in the NW Mens Cup by Widnes St Maries Vikings.
In the two previous rounds the Atoms had to travel to Chorley Panthers and Wigan St Cuthberts with both trips resulting in keeping the cup dream alive.
The reward for these victories on the road was another tough away trip to Widnes to face the National Cup finalists in the form of St Maries Vikings.
This was the second trip to Widnes in as many weeks and the Atoms were on a mission to firstly improve on last week’s poor performance and secondly to progress to the semi finals of the cup.
The first goal was achieved especially with ball in hand showing that they can be a threat to anyone with their pace and skill.
The second proved to be a bridge too far with the defensive side of their game just not up to the same standard, letting in too many soft tries and therefore unable to really complete with the scoreboard.
The Atoms got off to a terrible start, knocking on straight from the kick off and to compound matters they gave away a penalty and were forced to immediately defend their line.
The line was breached far too easily and the Vikings had been gifted a 6-0 lead on their opening set.
The worry was that after last week’s confidence denting performance against West Bank this might result in a long afternoon behind their posts.
However, they shook off the cobwebs and dragged themselves back into the contest.
This was mainly achieved by completing their allotted tackles and finishing off the sets chasing hard behind the accurate kicking of stand off Stuart Lacey.
A couple of penalties in the Atoms favour got them to the right end of the field.
The Atoms attacked the left edge using a couple of dummy runners before scum half Dan Helme offloaded in the tackle to centre Jack Edmondson who cut inside his defender to score his first of the afternoon.
At this level unforced errors are punished in the harshest manner and the Atoms’ lack of ball control contributed to St Maries scoring two tries in quick succession – one from a simple drop on first tackle and the second when a high bomb was adjudged to have been fumbled and picked up to score by the St Maries centre.
The Atoms for the second time had to dig in deep so the game didn’t get away from them and hard working second row Andrew Collins made a 30 yard tackle break to score under the postsfor his first try of the season.
St Maries were causing the Atoms some problems down their left with their BARLA Great Britain international second row proving extremely difficult to handle.
Two scores in this particular area nudged the Vikings ahead again, one a very close call near to the corner flag.
The Atoms got the score back to within 10 points when Jack Edmondson got on the end of a good four man passing play involving the combination of Cottle, Lacey and Helme after a strong Al Crookall charge behind the play the ball.
The Vikings had the final say of a high scoring half scoring again far too easily down the Atoms’ left giving them a 30 points to 16 lead at the break.
The second half was a much closer affair with the Widnes side just edging this period of 40 mins by 16 points to 12.
The Vikings got off to another fast start as their star player cut back into the middle part of the field to find a free passage to the line.
The highlight of the Atoms’ afternoon was the completion of Jack Edmondson’s hat-trick as the young centre picked up the loose ball on half way, breaking the initial tackle and sprinting away from the cover rounding off an excellent game.
St Maries took their points tally to 40 before the customary brawl at Widnes erupted.
Once the dust had settled the Atoms were reduced 11 players and their hosts surprisingly only down to 12.
The numerical advantage played into the Vikings’ hands and the increased space brought them their final try through their influential scrum half.
Jamie Cottle forced his way over the line after picking up from acting half back scoring his 10th try of the season.
Stuart Lacey added his fourth goal from five attempts to complete the scoring.
Portrait Pools Man O The Match: 1 Jack Edmondson 2 Dan Helme 3 Jamie Cottle
Next Saturday the Atoms are back at the Trimpell against Folly Lane from Swinton ko 2.30 all welcome