Vale of Lune 15-22 Wilmslow

James Hesketh. Picture: Tony North

James Hesketh. Picture: Tony North

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The wild, windy weather that had battered the area showed few signs of abating around Powder House Lane as the Vale of Lune suffered their fifth successive defeat.

Vale made the ideal start when from a line out the forwards surged purposefully towards the whitewash, prop James Hesketh became the man of the moment with his first try on the season in the fifth minute but Ben Dorrington was unable to caress the ball between the uprights.

In the 29th minute with a Wilmslow player in the sin bin, Ben Dorrington kicked a penalty goal but Vale’s lead was reduced to a single point in the 36th minute.

Full back Lawrence James fielded a kick and set off downfield and the number 15 went on his merry way unchallenged for a confidence boosting solo try which he converted.

At the start of the second half Wilmslow quickly had the Vale on the retreat and just where they wanted, scrambling in the red zone.

In the rough and tumble Andrew Garnett was shown a yellow card and almost before he had settled into the naughty chair Wilmslow had taken the lead.

From a Wilmslow line out the ball was smuggled towards the whitewash and number eight Alex Taylor was rewarded for his efforts with an unconverted try in the 45th minute.

Chris Weeks then pulled off a try saving tackle on Wilmslow’s inspirational skipper, Mike Black, to be followed by a cruncher from Ian Bird.

But the Vale could not hold the line indefinitely and in the 52nd minute they finally cracked. Winger Harry Patch took advantage of some unconvincing tackling to score a try converted by James.

James Birchall then veered infield, Dorrington straightened the line in the build up to a well taken try from Alex Baines, converted by Dorrington in the 55th minute.

Suddenly a four point deficit did not appear like a mountain to climb and for the next 20 minutes the Vale went through the phases.

The ball was moved far and wide, and closer to home, but the scalpel and carborundum block were not introduced to each other and the Vale attacks lacked that sharp incisiveness of cold steel.

Eventually Vale’s stream of inventiveness ran dry and as the game was blown into its final 10 minutes Wilmslow broke the blockade and in the 74th minute a penalty goal from James made life a little more comfortable for the “Cheshire Set.”

There was still enough time left for the Vale to ensure the game ended all square but it was all a little too hectic and not enough to ruffle Wilmslow who quietly went about their business until referee Tim Brown blew time.

As Vale approach a tricky trip to Bolton a number of positives can be taken from the Wilmslow game.

Andy Powers, after over a year on the sidelines, showed he is quickly regaining his fitness levels, Adam Macluskie made a number of surging runs, lock Adam Foxcroft put in a full shift and there were signs that Rob Lamberton was shaking off his recent illness.

One thing is pretty certain is that the Vale cannot afford to carry any passengers on their first visit to the Mortfield Pavilion on Saturday.

Vale of Lune: C Weeks; C Lomas, I Bird, B Dorrington, C Lomas; A Macluskie, B Swarbrick; J Hesketh, A Powers, P McLaren-Dorrington; A Foxcroft, M Barker; A Baines, A Garnett, S Wallbank (Capt). Replacements used: R Pillow, R Lamberton, N Walker.