VALE arrived at Round Ash Park bright eyed and bushy tailed, and certainly put on a show, running in six tries, collecting the the all-important bonus point and ending a two-game losing run on the road.
They registered their first league win on Leigh territory and their first victory at Leigh since the 2000/01 season when they won in the Lancashire Trophy.
For the Vale, scrum half Darren Wilson and stand-off Jimmy Moore were two irrepressible craftsmen, pulling the strings, waving their respective batons and guiding the troops throughout.
The players all responded. Gareth Tudor was a solid, mobile number eight, Sam Wallbank, despite an injury worked tirelessly, Danny Lin was, as always, here, there and everywhere, while the front five went about their business methodically.
With Wilson and Moore calling the shots the backs could not complain about the way the game unfolded.
Ian Bird was at his usual uncompromising, piratical best, running through opponents rather than around them.
In contrast, Fergus Owens glides around almost unnoticed and when he is eventually spotted it is usually too late.
Winger James Curran was more like his old self, bagging a brace of tries, his first since his return to the colours this season.
Both sides started at a healthy lick, glad no doubt to be in action at last, but the Vale were first to set the numbers rattling on the scoreboard.
The ball was turned over 25 metres from Leigh’s line. Wilson broke to the left, Bird shunted aside his opponents before releasing Curran for an unconverted try after six minutes.
In the 18th minute the Vale extended their lead. Moore set off on a 40-metre run, outstripping the Leigh cover before passing to Lin, the stand-off converting the wing forward’s try.
Leigh, who would have preferred not to see the ball pinging around quite as much, had a chance play the game their way in the 26th minute.
The home side’s forwards clamped the ball and rumbled over the Vale’s line, hooker Ian Wood claiming the try.
Despite having skipper Acton in the sin bin the Vale stuck to their principles, Curran was just hauled down short of the line and in stoppage time Moore kicked a penalty goal.
The opening 12 minutes of the second half belonged to a rampaging Vale. Owens set off on one his gossamer runs, that ended with a try converted by Moore.
Two minutes later some scintillating passing ended with Curran flying down his wing for an unconverted try and the magical bonus point.
Leigh worked hard to plug the gaps but they were undone again in the 51st minute.
At a scrum Moore went to scrum half and Wilson totted on to the right wing.
This tactic almost produced a try, but Wilson was held up short.
Leigh were penalised and the tap the ball was worked to the left for Owens to scoot through for his second.
Vale added their final try in the 65th minute. Prop Mark Hanson found himself in space 15 metres from Leigh’s line and unselfishly slipped the ball to Lin who crossed for an unconverted try.
Leigh’s forwards grabbed a consolation try with nine minutes remaining when from a line-out wing forward Paul Hampson was hustled over.
Vale of Lune: J Higgin, J Williams (L Ford 58), F Owens (N Foster 54), I Bird, J Curran, J Moore. D Wilson, M Hanson, P Watson, J Ferguson (J Hesketh 70), L Acton (capt), D Perry, S Wallbank, D Lin, G Tudor.
RUGBY ROUND UP
BURNAGE extended their lead at the top of the table to 10 points following their 57-29 home win over New Brighton.
Altrincham Kersal remain in second place but were unable to gain a bonus point in their 24-16 home win against Sandbach.
Wirral were home winners against West Park St Helens 8-0, while Wilmslow who travel to Powderhouse Lane on Saturday, also won at home 21-16 against Wigton.
Vale A drew with Preston Grasshoppers second team 20-20, with a last minute penalty try to secure their place in the top half of the Bateman BMW Premier League ahead of the introduction of a conference system for the second half of the season.
Vale Vikings also shared the points with a 7-7 draw, their first of the season, at Littleborough.