ON an unusually warm day in mid-October the pitch was certain to test the stamina of the players.
In a second half that was considerably quicker than the first, a number of players were blowing at the end.
The Vale made heavy weather of the opening exchanges and they were forced to back pedal in the face of some determined play from Wigton.
In the 13th minute Wigton took the lead after two earlier penalties had been missed.
A dropped Vale pass in what had been a scrappy opening from the home side presented winger Tom Gardner with the perfect gift as he dashed away from the chasing cover for arty converted by stand-off Dave Hanabury.
A typical meandering run from Darren Wilson down the middle was followed by a charge from Ian Bird, who earned his side a penalty which Tom Carter duly kicked in the 18th minute.
Wigton continued to play with spirit and worked hard to provide opportunities for their speedy wingers.
Hanabury made a slashing break that almost caught the Vale out, the cover arrived just in time and as the clock began to rundown Wigton launched a number of attacks in Vale’s 22.
The half ended on a high note for the Vale after they had driven Wigton back in their own half.
Wilson corkscrewed on his merry way, the back-up arrived in a sweeping move that ended when Carter kicked to the left.
Hughes perfectly timed his run to collect the ball and twist over for a try which Carter converted.
Coach Woodward’s half-time pep talk had the desired effect as a bristling, bustling Vale stared the second 40 with his words of wisdom ringing in their ears.
In the 47th minute the Vale went further ahead when, in his 100th appearance, James Hodder switched on the boosters to streak 40 metres for a confidently taken try, Carter converting after seven minutes play.
In the 57th minute Vale’s forwards combined to force Wigton back towards their own posts and when the line was in sight, Baines peeled away to force his way over for an unconverted try, this score underlining the young back row forward’s talent.
Carter popped over a penalty goal as the game moved into its final quarter with the Vale making most of the running.
James Curran made a rare foray down his wing, with some of the best passes he received during the second half coming from those misdirected from the visitors.
As last season proved, try bonus points are vital much needed gems and with five minutes of proper time remaining Vale secured theirs. Acton burst away 25 metes out with an aggressive run, Carter converted.
If Acton’s first effort was worthy of rippling applause along the East Terrace when he took up his position to await the restart his second try had supporters throwing their hand skywards.
Acton set off on a 40 metre sortie that might have appeared a shade ambitious but like a runner who can see only the tape ahead, he swept all before him for a worthy solo try that will no doubt be embroidered over the coming season.
Vale of Lune: O Hughes, J Hodder, A Macluskie (T Ball 40), I Bird, J Curran, T Carter, D Wilson, J Hesketh, P Berry, D Woodward (A Morrison 54), L Acton, D Perry (capt), J Clarkson, D Lin (A Baines 45), G Tudor.