Contrasting fortunes for Vale as club hopes for bright 2017

Vale of Lune were beaten by Kirkby Lonsdale in their final game of 2016.
Vale of Lune were beaten by Kirkby Lonsdale in their final game of 2016.

It has been a year of contrasting fortunes for the Vale of Lune with a number of challenges awaiting them in 2017.

The first team ended the first half of the current season in eighth place in North One West with seven wins from fourteen games having recorded a similar set of statistics at the end of 2015.

During the calendar year the Vale played 28 league games winning 17, accumulating 572 points and conceding 514.

They finished their league programme in fifth place, missing out on their target of fourth because of a defeat at Leigh in their final game.

Overall the Vale’s final position was their highest since the 2012/13 season when they finished third with standout away performances coming at Wilmslow, 17-12 and away at Penrith, 25-23, but defeats at relegated Carlisle, 12-13, and at Widnes, 13-14, were galling to say the least.

This season’s campaign started badly for the Powderhouse Lane outfit, losing their opening four games.

In fairness, they had to cope without their captain Dan Baines, who was serving a four-match ban while other experienced players were either injured or unavailable.

A home win against Altrincham Kersal, 23-20, which coincided with the return of their talisman and skipper, broke the ice, and although two defeats followed, at Birkenhead Park, 26-29 and at home against Wilmslow, 19-40, there were signs that form and confidence were returning.

Everything began to turn round with a victory at Blackburn, 20-13, because the Vale then embarked on a six-game unbeaten run, their best start since the 2012/13 league season when six victories were also reeled off.

A defeat on December 17 at Kirkby Lonsdale, 16-0, brought the sequence to an end.

Vale will be hoping to put this setback behind them when the face Eccles at home on January 7.

By April 2016 the seconds had already secured their status in the Premier League, six wins from 11 seeing them to third in Conference B and 10th overall.

This season the Cotton Traders Premier League has proved tough once again and despite being overwhelmed in their opening five games the seconds stabilised their situation to finish 10th.

It has been an up and down 2016 for the thirds, picking up just one win from 12 games in the County Couriers Services Division Two having won promotion from Division Three North.

The fourths battled hard to retain their status in Rogerson Homeserve+ Division 4, and have found life far from easy this term with only three wins from nine games played as both they and the seconds and thirds struggled for players at times.