Vale of Lune extended their unbeaten run to six games at home to St Benedicts on Saturday, but it came at a cost as Andy Powers and Ben Dorrington were both forced off due to injury.
Powers suffered a fractured cheek bone which could keep him sidelined for a couple of months while Dorrington suffered a serious leg injury in the 38th minute which will rule him out for several weeks.
Before the loss of two key men Vale had got away to the ideal start at Powderhouse Lane with a try being scored after just three minutes.
From a skilfully processed 10-metre line out Dan Baines quick-stepped his way over for an unconverted try.
In the 29th minute Steve Wood kicked a penalty goal for the visitors which rang the Vale’s alarm bell sufficiently because four minutes later they increased their lead with a superbly constructed try.
The ball was moved rapidly, both Fergus Owens and Dorrington playing an active part, with St Benedicts treading water in defence and when the inevitable gap appeared Jack Ayrton locked onto a pass to race clear; Tom Slater added the conversion.
Suddenly the chains were cast off as far as the Vale were concerned, they began to probe with confidence, as St Benedicts retreated, but everything ground to halt following Dorrington’s injury and both sides welcomed referee Robert Sheard’s half time whistle.
Nine minutes into the second half, with the Vale continuing to play on the front foot, despite the changes, a Slater penalty goal crowned a period of pressure.
The Vale looked comfortable up to the hour mark but despite some belligerent runs from Sam Wallbank there were signs that the Saints were beginning to march in step against a Vale side that were stitching together a number of promising attacks but lacked the finesse to finish them off.
In the gathering gloom St Benedicts’ lights began to twinkle as the Vale found it difficult to break out under pressure.
In the 69th minute a well worked attack created an overlap and with Vale struggling scrum half Kyle Henderson touched down for an unconverted try.
The closing minutes tested the Vale’s character; they defended stoutly as a storm began to break over them as St Benedicts sensed they were beginning to waver.
The Saints’ efforts suffered a blow when one of their players was shown a red card for offering the referee some unwelcome advice late in the game which allowed the Vale to regain some composure and marshal their forces in a tense climax.