Vale of Lune 14-69 Sandal

Vale's Adam Foxcroft comes down heavy on Sandal. Picture: Tony North.
Vale's Adam Foxcroft comes down heavy on Sandal. Picture: Tony North.
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It was another gutsy performance from Vale of Lune against all the odds on Saturday at Powderhouse Lane but on the day Sandal carried all the heavy artillery.

They had the pace, fire power, know-how and fitness to keep Vale in their place and inflict on the hosts their heaviest defeat at home in a league fixture since Middlesbrough rattled their cage in February 1997 to the tune of 55-11.

Sandal showed their attacking hand in the fifth minute when winger Cam Lee touched down wide out after the visitors had controlled their line out. Stand-off James Ellar put over the conversion to produce an air of apprehension on the East Terrace.

Any worries appeared to have disappeared in the ninth minute when Vale drew level.

Luke Ford made the initial break with support from Adam Foxcroft in an excellent passage of rugby that resulted in a try for Charlie Lomas which Alex Briggs converted.

As the game became evenly poised,Jordan Fern pulled off a try-saving tackle, the pack successfully more than held their own at a five metre scrum and there was a blend of vigour and commitment from Vale in the opening quarter.

Sandal’s pack did the business in the build up to their second try in the 24th minute to secure a penalty and from a quickly taken tap, lock Jimmy Stewart wrestled his way over, his try being converted by Eller.

Suddenly, Sandal started to tap out a different rhythm; they began to sling shot attacks in Vale’s direction and after a period of pressure 
centre Dave Martin bustled over for an unconverted try in the 29th minute. The try bonus point was captured for Sandal in the 33rd minute when skipper and No.8 Nick Carolan thrust his way over on the short side but Eller’s well struck conversion hit an upright and bounced back into the field of play.

In the closing minutes, the effervescent Chris Ramwell danced and jinked his way downfield in a defiant solo run but alas the writing was on the wall for Vale, their guns had been well and truly spiked by the interval.

Sandal increased their lead in the 43rd minute when forward replacement James Purcell was hustled over the line from close range, Eller again converting.

In the fifty second minute an overlap situation was created and as the Vale struggled to plug the gaps Jack Townend quietly took advantage for an unconverted try; Eller’s conversion again thumping an upright but flirting away.

Vale lifted themselves from the canvas in the 55th minute to score their second try.

Ramwell started the move with one of his giddy runs but it was the all action man Ford who bludgeoned his way over for the try which Briggs converted.

As the game moved into the final 20 minutes from a Vale perspective the score appeared quite agreeable until the 64th minute when a tired looking Vale defence was unable to deal with a flashing crossfield move that provided Lee with his second try which was not converted.

Then, once again the pace and quickness of thought undid the Vale as a situation was created for Jack Townend to score in the 67th minute, his try being converted by Eller.

The score line began to move embarrassingly upward.

Flanker Anthony Jackson completed a move which Townend had initiated with Eller kicking the conversion in the 72nd minute.

Two interception tries in the 76th and 80th minutes from Greg Wood and Dave Martin both converted by Eller completed the rout.