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INTERVIEW: Heysham Atoms look forward to a bright future

Pic: Photos by PhilD/ Phil Dawson

The secretary of a local rugby league club has told Beyond Radio that there’s a good feel around the place.

Although Heysham Atoms finished bottom of the North West Men’s League Premier Division last season, which came to an end on September 10, their secretary Dave Crow, who has been involved with the club since the 1980s, revealed that there’s a likelihood they will be able to stay in that division rather than be relegated, due to the reduced number of teams competing last year.

“There were only eight clubs in the Premier Division instead of the usual twelve,’’ he said.

‘’A lot of teams didn’t want to come up – the competition is very difficult. We do have the option of going down a division but my fear with that is that teams don’t travel to you then and we sometimes don’t have a team to play on the Saturday. With potentially ten teams in the league next year, it’ll make it much better.

“We had a bad start to the season and later on in the year some of the Vale (of Lune RUFC) lads started playing for us, we won three games on the bounce and played some great rugby. Overall, I think the season has been pleasing because we never really let our heads drop even though we had some tough games and bad results but there’s always been a spirit, drive and want to do better, so the core of the squad has been good.”

There will be an awards presentation for the previous season at Powder House Lane, the Atoms’ ground that they share with the Vale of Lune. That will take place this coming Friday, starting at 7.30pm, with special guest Jamie Jones-Buchanan, who enjoyed an illustrious rugby career at Leeds Rhinos from 1999 to 2019, and is currently a coach for the Rhinos.

Tickets, priced at £25, are still available for the evening, with the money raised for the event going to the Motor Neurone Disease Association. Atoms’ Andy Helme walked the Leeds to Liverpool canal earlier this year to raise awareness of the illness. Jamie Jones-Buchanan’s former Leeds Rhinos teammate and friend Rob Burrow was diagnosed with the illness in 2019, and former Atom Gareth Pinnington’s brother recently passed away from the illness.

Speaking about Jones-Buchanan’s guest appearance, Dave said: “He’ll be presenting the trophies, he’s a face in the game and we’re not in a traditional rugby league area so it’ll be great to have him at the club.”

The club’s partnership with the Vale of Lune started just this year and Dave says it’s going well.

“The facilities are second to none, the pitches are unbelievable.

‘’We’ve been onto the County Council and we’ve been given permission to use one of the pitches on Rylands Park.”

The Club are still in contract with the council over facilities.

The Club have recently formed a women’s team, their first since 1998, and they played their first game on Saturday, away against the Whitley Bay Barbarians. Despite losing, Dave was understandably very proud of the team.

“It’s absolutely brilliant,’’ Dave added.

‘’The coaches have been brilliant. The game ended 38-4, but part way through it looked very much like they found their feet. It’s great for the club, the area and rugby league, especially with the upcoming Women’s World Cup in October.''

“We had Wigan Warriors’ Georgia Wilson’s input as well, which was brilliant – a lot of our players watch her play. The players we’ve got are all getting on really well, it’s great.”

Overall, Dave is really happy with and excited about the future of the club. The sponsorships from various local companies, such as Sandcastle Care and David Bland, have gone a long way to helping the club.

“I’ve been at the club for 37 years and I’m still happy and as proud about the club as I was the day that I started. There’s a good feel and a great set of people here at the moment.”

Those interested in attending the senior awards presentation with Jamie Jones-Buchanan on Friday evening, or people who want to know any other information about the club, can contact Dave Crow on 07966 322864

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