Last season the Vale of Lune recorded a rare league victory on Broughton Park soil, only their third in ten fixtures, but normal service was resumed at Hough End Crescent with the home side extending their unbeaten run in North One West to six games and moving to fifth place in the table, one above the Vale.
Vale were the first to have their points put up in lights on the electronic scoreboard when Ben Dorrington kicked a penalty goal in the fifth minute following an incident that resulted in a Broughton Park player being shown a yellow card for tripping.
In the 20th minute the Vale extended their lead. The move began with a strong run from Jimmy Birchall infield. The ball was quickly recycled and moved to the right where prop James Hesketh delivered an exquisite long pass to Birchall who crossed for an unconverted try.
A feature of Park’s season has been their ability to absorb pressure and bounce back and following Vale’s score they inched their way back into contention courtesy of two penalties from full back Ronan O’Brien in the 26th and 28th minutes respectively.
Just before half time O’Brien edged his side into a one point lead which dissolved in the 51st minute when Dorrington kicked a penalty.
A dangerous crossfield attack from the home side ended in a touchline scramble, Vale’s centre Rob Lamberton was left dazed after a tackle as the game swung from end to end.
When the Vale tried to run the ball out of defence they were penalised for crossing, O’Brien put over the penalty from in front on the hour mark. Stand off Ben Salisbury then floated a dangerous kick deep into Vale’s twenty two, the forwards surged for the line, the Vale were stretched and when centre Jack Kelly received the ball he broke through tackles for a try converted by O’Brien in the 68th minute.
As the game moved into the closing ten minutes the Vale required two scores for victory.
Penalties were conceded by Park, the Vale opted to try to secure a five pointer but in the 77th minute common sense prevailed, Dorrington kicked a penalty from in front to claim the losing bonus point.
There were a few minutes of injury time to played, enough time for the Vale achieve a draw or even a win. With one eye on the clock Park’s O’Brien hoped to secure a cushion with a 35 metre penalty attempt but he failed to hit the target.
Tom Ball was unleashed on a dangerous run down the right wing in an exciting, nervous climax to a contest that was fitting symphony to celebrate Saint Cecilia’s Day, the patroness of all things musical.