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Burnage 32-26 Vale of Lune

Damon Hall under attack. Picture: Tony North.
Damon Hall under attack. Picture: Tony North.
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For their penultimate fixture of the North One West season the Vale of Lune travelled to Battersea Road to face Burnage on their all weather pitch.

It ended with the visitors not only losing for just the third time this season but conceding their highest numbers of points.

There were a couple of crumbs of comfort for Vale though as records were broken.

Damon Hall’s 16 points, comprising a try, conversion and three penalty goals brought his season’s total to 437 to establish a new point’s record. Another milestone was reached when for the first time in a league season, Vale accumulated more than a 1,000 points.

The opening 10 minutes saw both sides moving the ball around and in the 13th minute the hosts went ahead when centre Stuart Oldham blasted his way through some unconvincing Vale tackling on his way to a solo unconverted try.

Burnage extended their lead in the 23rd minute with a penalty goal from full back Chris Kornecki after Vale were penalised at scrum time.

With five minutes remaining of the first half it looked as though Vale had at long last recovered their mojo when Hall rounded off a rather convoluted attack with an unconverted try.

As Vale’s supporters exchanged knowing looks Burnage dashed any hopes with a try in the 37th minute. Vale dithered in defence; tackles were missed as right winger Robbie Wilson sprinted through for an unconverted try.

The half ended with Vale stringing together a promising attack that had Burnage on the retreat, this positive passage of rugby ended with Hall punching over a penalty kick from wide out.

Even after such a mediocre half, Vale were only five points adrift but everything turned turtle for them in the 42nd minute when left winger Josh Miller skipped through a flat footed Vale defence for a try converted by Korneki.

Hall kicked a penalty two minutes later and as the game approached the hour mark Hall kicked another but in the 62nd minute Burnage lock Nick Scholes helped himself to a most comfortable unconverted try.

Things went from bad to worse for the Vale and in the 65th minute when they presented Burnage with another score.

Vale’s defence evaporated when replacement Tomek Pozniak pottered his way between the posts without a hand being laid on him; Sam Jennings put over the conversion.

Olly Jacques restored some balance with an unconverted try in the 70th minute as he set off on powerful leg pumping run after Hall’s pass had sent him on his way.

Just before the 80 minute mark Jacques went thundering over from a tap penalty, his try being converted by Hall.

Referee Phil Bygrave told all the players there would be four extra minutes, time enough for Vale to snatch victory and to their credit they went all out to save their blushes, but it was all too frenzied against Burnage’s well organised defence.

A losing bonus point was not what the Vale faithful had envisaged ahead of their final game of the season at Wilmslow.