Relegated Vale of Lune faced Rossendale on the back of a six match losing streak in which they had conceded 367 points and with the knowledge that Coach Dan Williams would be leaving them at the end of the season.
Rossendale duly completed the double over the Vale but it was not until the final eight minutes were they able to put the game beyond Vale’s reach with two converted tries.
Vale opened the scoring with a seventh minute try from winger Ethan Robertson which stand off Alex Briggs converted followed by one from centre Fergus Owens three minutes later.
A retreating Vale defence was unable to halt a charge from Rossendale’s number eight Dominic Moon which full back Lewis Allen converted in the 13th minute.
Owens darted over for his second as the game moved into the second quarter followed by a Rossendale try from Tom Leader.
Owens completed his hat trick in the 27th minute with Briggs adding the conversion.
A converted try from Curtis Strong cut the Vale’s lead but in the 36th minute Briggs kicked a penalty goal.
Rossendale opened the second 40 by putting the Vale under pressure with tries coming in quick succession from Leader and Jack Ward, both being converted by Allan.
In the 67th minute the visitors eased into a comfortable lead with a try from Harrison Moulding, converted by Allan.
Vale produced an instant response with an unconverted try from replacement Damon Hall but tries from Jake Sutton and Matt Blackman, both of which were converted, sealed Vale’s fate.
lOne of the first casualties of Vale of Lune’s calamitous season was coach Dan Williams, who will not be continuing in his role for the 2019/20 season, although he will remain in post until the Vale have completed their final three North Premier fixtures.
Dan was appointed coach in October 2015 and in his first season the Vale finished in fifth place in North One West and attained the same position the following season.
The 2017/18 season proved to be the zenith for both players and their coaches as the Vale clinched the championship of North One West with a record breaking, breathtaking season that established a place in the club’s history.
Alas the success could not be maintained in the North Premier where a combination of strong, worldly wise opponents, the unavailability and injuries to key players proved to be a potent, debilitating concoction.
The departure of the coach has further fuelled speculation, not only about his successor, but the possibility of the haemorrhaging of players, a situation that will seriously impact on all of Vale’s senior sides who have struggled at times during the season to field full squads because of a lack of numbers.
Important decisions are looming on the horizon for the Vale which are certain to influence their future, but time is on their side before the new season kicks off.