For the Vale of Lune the waiting was over as they trotted out to face Altrincham Kersal in the opening North One West fixture of the season.
The home side almost scored in the first minute when James Hodder chased down a kick ahead and his grasping hands were only just beaten by those of the visitors’ full-back.
In the second minute Jimmy Moore kicked a penalty goal before Altrincham Kersal launched a series of forward generated drives that had the Vale defending deep in their territory.
Kicks at goal were declined by Altrincham Kersal as they went for a higher tariff but the Vale defence held firm.
After absorbing the Altrincham Kersal surges the Vale broke out with a sweeping attack that ended with Dorrington’s foot just grazing the whitewash on the touchline.
With the momentum in the Vale’s favour they increased their score when Sam Wallbank thrust his way over in the 17th minute from a line-out, his try being converted by Moore from wide out on the right hand touchline.
Seven minutes later the Vale added another converted try that contained a certain amount of controversy in its build up.
Skipper Darren Wilson kicked ahead, he was unceremoniously taken out as he raced after the ball and referee Bentham had no hesitation in awarding a penalty from either where the ball had been kicked or where it had landed in the visitors’ 22.
A posse of Vale players hunted down the ball, the quick thinking Andy Powers took a tap to send Danny Lin careering over the line ahead of a second Moore conversion from an almost identical position to his first.
With five minutes remaining of a half that had flashed by, the dynamic Powers, who had intelligently stationed himself out on the right flank, expertly gathered a long missile pass from Moore to battle his way over, Moore adding a third conversion.
The half ended on rather a scrappy note as far as the Vale were concerned as Altrincham Kersal put together a series of attacks that threatened the Vale’s line. Wallbank was shown yellow for infringing in the red zone as the Vale found themselves unexpectedly on the back foot.
Any doubts that the Vale had taken their foot off the pedal were answered emphatically in the opening seconds of the second half.
In the blink of an eye Wilson latched on to the ball and set off on one of his low slung runs. He quickly outstripped the cover, lined up a couple of defenders which he summarily dealt with before crossing the goal line with less than 30 seconds on the clock to ensure the bonus point.
The noise from a delirious crowd was only silenced when Moore’s conversion rattled an upright but the ball refused to go over.
With new laws being introduced this season including rolling substitutions, eight interchanges being permitted at North One West level, the Vale began to bring players off the bench.
Unfortunately, the match official had more pressing matters to contend with as suddenly the game took a turn for the worse with a couple of serious exchanging of handbags before the hour mark.
The first incident ended with Powers being shown a yellow card and one for an opponent, plus a conference between the two captains and the referee.
Unfortunately, everything flared up again in around the technical areas by the changing rooms, with a red card being waved in the direction of an Altrincham Kersal official.
A 71st minute penalty goal from Moore brought a level of calm to the proceedings before Wallbank collected a second try two minutes later.
Again, Wilson set off on a defence splitting move that was tracked all the way by Wallbank.
A well timed pass to the lock forward provided Wallbank with the opportunity to display his ball handling skills before he twisted his way over the line for an unconverted try. As the end of proper time approached the ball was moved swiftly crossfield by the Vale’s three-quarters.
Tom Carter came into the line at speed in a move that was impressively finished off by Jordan Dorrington, Moore converted from wide out on the right.
In the third minute of added time Altrincham Kersal’s stand-off, Josh Dyson beetled down a vacant blind side for an unconverted try but in the last move of the game the Vale scored again.
Lee Acton completed another physical performance by snaffling the ball and charging over for an unconverted try.
Vale of Lune: T Ball, J Hodder, J Higgin (T Carter 64), A Macluskie, J Dorrington, J Moore, D Wilson (capt), J Hesketh (J O’Donnell 42), G Hanson, S Wallbank, L Acton, G Tudor, D Lin, A Baines (A Garnett 54).
Man of the match: T Carter.
Match ball sponsor: Friends of the Vale.
nIn their opening Bateman BMW Premier League fixture Vale 2nd produced an unbelievable performance to defeat Altrincham Kersal 2nd away, 44-40.
Vale Vikings lost against Tyldesley 2nd 38-7, while the B team fell to a heavy home defeat against Burnley’s first team, which included former Vale player Charlie Hill, 60-14. Disaster befell Vale when Adam Hartley was taken to hospital with a broken leg.
In North One West only newcomers to the league Sale registered a victory, away at Manchester 38-17. Kirkby Lonsdale lost at home to Wirral 24-16, with Fleetwood losing at Liverpool St Helens 25-15.
Wilmslow won at home against Anselmians 54-22, Carlisle were away winners at Rochdale 26-7 and there was also an away win for Widnes at Leigh 18-12.