Blackburn 13-20 Vale of Lune
Vale of Lune delivered the perfect pick me up after their nightmare against Wilmslow the previous week to record their second North One West win of the season and lift the air of desperation that was beginning to swirl them.
Victory was built around a cohesive team performance, a solid scrum and apart from the few occasions when they switched off, some very polished work in defence.
Straight from the kick off at Ramsgreave Drive the Vale set the agenda with a try after three minutes.
Centre Jonty Higgin broke powerfully down the middle before releasing fellow centre Tom Crookall, who quickly accelerated through the cover for a try converted by Ben Dorrington.
Blackburn reminded the Vale of the respective positions between the two clubs when full back Leon Fifield expertly drifted a penalty goal over in the sixth minute.
Vale’s scrum began to impact on the game forcing Blackburn to work hard to neutralise an obvious threat.
Dan Baines, with the help of his merry men in the outhouse, took two against the head but despite all the forward promise a tenacious Blackburn defence refused to fold.
All the effort put in by the hosts was rewarded in the 23rd minute when they slickly punished a Vale error following a charged down kick.
As the Vale tried to cover up their mistake Blackburn quickly moved the ball crossfield to right winger Gregor Mackenzie who found himself in acres of space out wide and he touched down for an unconverted try.
With a shrug of their shoulders the Vale went back on the offensive. Scrum half Billy Swarbrick spearheaded the attacks, back rowers Andy Powers and Ben Dorrington arm wrestled at close quarters while Adam Foxcroft, when he clamped his hands on the ball, acted as beacon for those around him.
It was appropriate that the Vale’s pack played an important role in enabling the visitors to register the next score when they drove over a crumbling Blackburn scrum to extract a penalty which Ben Dorrington kicked in the 34th minute. The opening ten minutes of the second half belonged to Blackburn as the Vale were put under the faucet.
Again the scrum held firm in the red zone and on one occasion Ben Dorrington rescued a dangerous situation with a timely ground hugging burst.
After a stiff early examination the Vale added to their lead in the 57th minute with a well worked try.
Brett Robinson arrowed a pass out to Tom Crookall who accelerated deep into Blackburn territory. The forwards took up the baton with relish, swarming all over the defenders close to the line.
In all the maelstrom Billy Swarbrick went over for a try converted by Dorrington from a difficult angle.
A nine point lead was a perfect tonic for the Vale and with their sleeves rolled up well above the elbow, their share price started to rise.
One of many churning scrums concertinaed Blackburn’s eight to force a penalty which Ben Dorrington kicked in the 64th minute.
When Leon Fifield sliced through Vale’s defence with a superb well balanced run for an unconverted try in the 75th minute and with Brett Robinson in the sin bin, the worry line began to appear as Blackburn sensed the Vale were starting to creak but the visitors held on.
*All Vale of Lune members are requested to attend an important Emergency Annual General Meeting to be held in the clubhouse on Wednesday, November 3 at 7.30 pm, to discuss future developments.