Warrington 25-15 Vale of Lune

Jamie Antcliffe scored his first North One West try against Warrington.
Jamie Antcliffe scored his first North One West try against Warrington.

This fixture proved to be the perfect antidote for those who were struggling with the Christmas shopping frenzy as two committed sides produced a game of rugby that was packed full of excitement and endeavour.

In the end Warrington slipped a bonus present under their tree, while the Vale of Lune returned empty handed, not a bauble in sight as for the second time this season they were unable wrap up a losing bonus point.

However, it was not through want of trying, because the Vale glittered and sparkled, as is there wont these days, unfortunately their fairy lights were dimmed by a Warrington side that refused to be dazzled and eventually they pulled the plug on the Vale’s aspirations.

Hopefully, as far as the Vale are concerned, all the bulbs will have been checked thoroughly, the fuses replaced ahead of their final North One West fixture of the year, at home against Eccles on Saturday.

Vale were forced to make late changes to the line up in the threequarters but the balance of the side was not unduly affected, they performed with their customary dash, the forwards fronted up, all challenges were met, but in the end the Vale were unable to penetrate, on a regular basis, a well-organised Warrington defence.

Vale shot away to the ideal start, playing down the slope when Ben Dorrington kicked a penalty goal in the 10th minute following some surging drives from the forwards.

Warrington responded with a series of threatening attacks but the Vale’s tackling was uncompromising and they counter attacked from anywhere in their own half to menace the home side.

The pace was relentless, some shuddering tackles were put in from both sides and although the scoreboard operators were redundant for long periods it was meaty stuff that was being dished out in a toe-to-toe contest.

As the half was drawing to a close Warrington made the all important break through. In the 32nd minute winger Kieron Hughes touched down wide out on the right.

Cracks started to appear in Vale’s dam wall and they widened in the 36th minute with a try from Kevin Jones was followed by a second from Hughes.

A 12-point deficit appeared to be harsh for the Vale to transport into the second half but they quickly took a hefty chunk out of Warrington’s lead.

The Vale strung together a flowing attack, Dorrington burst through the centre and then flicked a perfect pass to James Birchall with the full going for the line with a vengeance, his try being converted by Dorrington in the 42nd minute.

There was no let up in the pace of the game but extra Warrington insurance came courtesy of penalty goal kicked by full back Pat Roberts in the 75th minute followed three minutes later with a try from hard their working lock, Danny Fleming, his bonus score being converted by Roberts.

With the end of an engrossing game looming the Vale produced on of their silky smooth attacks that resulted in Jamie Antcliffe crossing for his first North One West try which was not converted in the 80th minute.

Referee Sharp indicated a couple of extra minutes but the Vale were unable to beat a path towards the bonus point grotto.

Vale of Lune: J Birchall, J Antcliffe, M Barker, B Dorrington, M Humpage, N Walker, B Swarbrick, J Hesketh, D Baines, R Pillow, R Randall, B Charnley, A Baines, A Garnett, S Wallbank (capt). Replacements used: P McLaren-Dorrington, J Aryton.