Vale 29-11 Wilmslow

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VALE’S tenth league victory of the season came at a cost as skipper Lee Acton was red carded and full-back Neale Foster sustained a serious elbow injury.

Wilmslow were first on the scoresheet when their leading point scorer, stand-off Bob MacCullum, kicked a penalty goal.

Despite playing in the wind that blew directly from the clubhouse end the Vale hit back immediately.

Prolonged pressure in Wilmslow’s 22 ended with Jimmy Moore side stepping his way over for an unconverted try.

In the 16th minute MacCullum lashed over a second penalty, only for Vale to retake the lead in the 27th minute with a second try.

With scant regard for the weather the home side swung the ball crossfield, a gap was opened up to allow prop Mark Hanson to charge over for his first try for the Vale, a popular score on his 15th appearance, Foster’s well struck conversion attempt narrowly failed to make the target.

Three minutes later Wilmslow edged one point ahead when following a succession of penalties number eight Ryan Parkinson was driven over from a five-metre line-out for an unconverted try.

The closing minutes of the half ended in chaotic fashion for the Vale.

Firstly Phil Watson was despatched for a 10 minute spell in the cooler, then Foster departed, quickly followed by Gareth Tudor on his home debut.

But the half ended on the up for the Vale as they swarmed all over Wilmslow’s goal line.

Energy

Man of the match Danny Lin appeared to have grounded the ball but the referee ruled no try.

Vale vigorously began the second half, pinning Wilmslow back with wave after wave of flowing rugby, but the visitors’ defence was most resolute and their energy levels remained high.

In the 60th minute the Vale engineered the eagerly awaited break through.

Darren Wilson spotted a deserted alleyway and darted away for a try converted by Moore.

Two minutes later the Vale collected the bonus point when James Curran chased down a chip ahead from Wilson to out sprint the cover in Vale’s massive dead ball area, Moore again converting.

Although there was now clear water between the two sides, Wilmslow remained a threat which was increased with Acton’s departure.

But the Vale reformed and far from going into their shell continued to probe.

When a rare Wilmslow attack broke down in the Vale’s half, Moore instigated a move 60 metres out that involved Curran and Ian Bird which almost produced a dramatic score.

The home side supporters did not have to wait too long for another score and with four minutes remaining Wilson broke down the blind side for his second try as part of an audacious ploy; a cunning plan that worked perfectly in the gathering gloom to confirm the double over Wilmslow.

Vale of Lune: N Foster (J Hodder 38), J Williams, A Macluskie, I Bird, J Curran, J Moore, D Wilson, M Hanson (J Ferguson 74), P Watson, J Ferguson (J Hesketh 32), L Acton (capt), D Perry, S Wallbank, D Lin, G Tudor (A Garnett 39).

Match sponsor: Nigel Armstrong.

Match ball sponsor: Border Asset Management. Peter Atkinson