Vale of Lune were were only able to pick up a single losing bonus point in their final home game of 2018 against Wirral on Saturday on a very wet and breezy afternoon at Powderhouse Lane.
The threatened squalls hit The Lane shortly before kick-off but the Vale had first use the strong wind and set off at a sprightly pace.
Damon Hall saw an early penalty attempt fly the wrong side of the posts but in the sixth minute the Vale posted a score their enterprise deserved.
Scum half Billy Swarbrick launched an attack with a crisp pass in a move that traversed left.
Sure and decisive passing stretched Wirral’s defence to allow Olly Jacques to cut through for a try which Hall converted.
Four minutes later Wirral’s full back, Danny Harvey, kicked a penalty goal as players on both sides adjusted to the weather.
As the half was drawing to a close the Vale endeavours were rewarded with a try.
From a scrum the ball was moved clinically to the left where Jacques found the space to scuttle through for an unconverted try in the third minute of stoppage time.
As increasing grey, gloomy afternoon descended on Powderhouse Lane and with heavy rain falling referee Hurdley trotted out after the half time interval to scan the horizon for signs of a break and there were concerns that he might be considering abandoning the game as daylight dimmed.
Vale started with a positive attack involving James Hesketh and Jonty Higgin, who was again plying his trade in the back row, but once more Wirral quietly snuffed out the danger and in the 52nd minute Harvey kicked his second penalty goal.
On the hour mark Vale lost possession of the bar of soap in midfield which allowed Wirral to mount a counter attack.
Dorrington joined Sam Wallbank on the naughty step and suddenly the Vale were down to 13 men as Wirral cranked up the volume.
Wirral were awarded a scrum deep into Vale’s twenty two and quickly had a shunt on. “It’s penalty try time,” opined a Vale supporter in the stand and sure enough as the Vale slid backwards they transgressed in the red zone and the referee had no hesitation in awarding a penalty try in the 62nd minute.
Vale grimly hung on as Wirral searched for further points.
For the closing seven minutes both sides were able to play out the game with a full complement of players and as was to be expected it was all pretty lively.
Wirral could not afford to sit back, while the Vale had to go all out to secure the winning points either from a penalty, drop goal or try but Wirral were astute enough to keep the Vale at arm’s length.