Northwich 21 -20 Vale of Lune

Henry Higginson. Picture: Tony North
Henry Higginson. Picture: Tony North

A young Vale of Lune side put in their best performance of the season so far at Moss Farm on Saturday, despite going down 21-20 to an excellent Northwich side.

There was plenty of sparkle to be found in the opening frantic exchanges with the first bauble being unwrapped by the hosts.

In the third minute a gap appeared in Vale’s alignment which allowed centre Scott Davidson to slip through, his try being converted by Nick Baldwin.

Vale put this early setback behind them and went on the offensive and in the ninth minute they sailed through for an unconverted try after a quickly taken tap penalty had set up the situation for centre Henry Higginson to grapple his way over.

As the game passed into its second quarter Northwich started to apply pressure and in the 20th minute the black wall rumbled their way deep into Vale’s 22m. When the ball was moved wide centre Gabe Hakarina blasted his way over, his try being converted by Baldwin from in front.

Suddenly the Vale began to lose their shape; a number of decisions went in Northwich’s favour and in the 23rd minute, with the ball flirting around, the Vale hesitated momentarily which allowed centre Richard Dale to seize the moment and claim an early Christmas present, his try was converted by Baldwin.

Vale started the second half in the same way they had ended the first with some fierce pummelling that ended with Harry Fellows scattering tacklers in all directions for an unconverted try in the 43rd minute.

In the 61st minute a deliberate Northwich knock on gave Alex Briggs the opportunity to thrash over the resultant penalty.

When a strong Vale pack took a scrum against the head hopes began to rise and to bring more ginger to the mix the coach threw on some new ingredients which caused problems for Northwich who suddenly found themselves spending uncomfortable periods in their own half.

In the 74th minute the Vale’s exertions brought the remuneration they deserved when Billy Swarbrick rounded off some silver dust passing after Sihalo Benge had been held up short before the ball was transferred a lightning speed to the number nine, Briggs, from wide out on the left lashed the conversion over. However, Northwich’s defence did not buckle under the onslaught and they held on to narrowly win.