Vale of Lune 51-0 Eccles

New Vale of Lune head coach Dan Williams. Picture: Tony North.
New Vale of Lune head coach Dan Williams. Picture: Tony North.
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Vale of Lune’s new coach Dan Williams made the perfect start with a seven try-victory over a gallant Eccles side who were beset by injuries throughout and finished the game with only 14 players.

Former coach Fergus Owens has stepped aside because of a career move but will continue as a player with the Queen Elizabeth School Kirkby Lonsdale teacher taking over.

Fergus Owens sprints clear to score against Eccles. Picture: Tony North.

Fergus Owens sprints clear to score against Eccles. Picture: Tony North.

Coach Williams will be fully aware that greater challenges await the Vale but after a testing month against the leading sides in North One West it was important to get their season back on track.

Both sides made numerous mistakes in the opening few minutes before eventually the Vale broke the stalemate.

The ball was moved to the right without any fancy embroidery being attached, a gap opened up which allowed full back Jonty Higgin to powerfully accelerate through for his try in the 12th minute.

Ben Dorrington kicked the conversion but the Vale had to wait another frustrating 10 minutes before they could find a way through a gritty Eccles defence.

Wing forward Jack Ayrton, who impressed throughout, cut through the defence with a well balanced mazy run, from the breakdown the ball was transferred swiftly to the right hand side where winger Jimmy Birchall forced his way over with Dorrington converting from wide out.

Eccles’ ranks were depleted when a player was yellow carded before another was forced to leave the action with an injury. The Vale however had to wait to the latter stages of the half to boost their total.

In the 39th minute the experienced Andy Garnett collected a sublime flicked pass from Ian Bird for an unconverted try.

The try bonus point was collected with a flourish when Owens intercepted a pass in his own half to sprint 60 metres for a solo score converted by Dorrington in the second minute of injury time.

Eccles clung doggedly at the start of the second half, an impasse developing before Dorrington forced a change in numbers on the scoreboard when he kicked a penalty goal on the hour mark.

The visitors’ injury list continued to mount and the scrums became uncontested and from one such situation the Vale scored in the 66th minute.

The ball was moved wide right without any ballyhoo, Birchall received the ball with space to spare to cross for his second try converted by Dorrington.

With 10 minutes remaining a confident Vale were fully prepared to give the ball air and with players running onto passes Eccles were forced to chase.

A crossfield run from Birchall presented Owens with the opportunity to display his graceful skills, the centre sold a sleek dummy at full speed for a classy try converted by Dorrington.

Vale were then awarded a penalty after tigerish work from replacement Andy Powers, which Dorrington kicked in the 73rd minute.

This was immediately followed by the final try of the game when Bird and Higgin worked in tandem to send stand off Adam Macluskie on his way for an unconverted try.

Vale of Lune: J Higgin, J Birchall, F Owens, I Bird, M Barker, A Macluskie, B Dorrington, R Pillow, D Baines (capt), P MacLaren-Dorrington, T Cvijanovic, J Wallbank, A Garnett, J Ayrton, S Wallbank. Replacements: M Field. S Hoare, A Powers.