Bowdon 35-14 Vale of Lune
Bridges, road closures, scenic meandering, chaos, and delays were all part of the back story as the Vale of Lune made their way to Bowdon on Saturday.
However, if there had been frustrations felt at the length of the journey time they were minimal compared with the irritation that was felt by Vale’s supporters and coaching staff after such below par performance.
Vale were quickly into their stride, forcing Bowdon on the defensive, it was all very slick as centres Harry Finan, Henry Higginson and full back Michael Forrest all capitalised on some quality ball from the pack, but Bowdon proved a tough nut to crack open.
Such was the Vale’s dominance that it was only a matter of time before they scored, but it was a case of later rather than sooner.
In the 17th minute a passage of slick passing opened up Bowden to allow Henry Higginson to glide through a gap for a try converted by Alex Briggs from in front.
Gradually Bowdon began to gnaw away at Vale’s foundations, bits began to fall off, tackles were missed, and errors stared to creep in as Bowdon sensed their moment might not be too far away.
There were no glaring obvious problems within Vale’s ranks but they were defiantly going off the boil.
Their cause was not helped in the 29th minute when their inspirational skipper and back to his hooking duties, Andy Powers, was shown a yellow card.
Almost before he had reached the naughty chair Bowdon had drawn level with a try from stand-off Will Nicholson which he converted.
Looking worried, Vale struggled to clear their lines, lock forward Will Birtwell was causing havoc with his direct running, as the ball was flirted back and forth across the 22m.
Eventually, Vale’s elastic broke and in the final attack of the half flanker Mick McGrath shot through an opening for a try converted again by Nicholson.
Vale opened the second half with a flourish but all their good intentions fell on barren ground and in the 56th minute they fell further behind following a rare Bowdon attack.
Vale’s defence was tested and found wanting as Bowdon’s fired up forwards carved out a try for centre Sam Tuitupou, his try being converted by Nicholson.
By now the game was drifting away from Vale, their play became pedantic and predictable as they struggled to recapture the spirit that had been so prevalent in recent games.
The fact that the scoreboard was not working was some consolation for Vale and so it was unable to record Bowdon’s bonus try in the 63rd minute.
Number eight Willie Landman waltzed his way through for his try which was naturally converted by Nicholson.
Try as they might, Vale were unable to raise their came and with 10 minutes remaining Bowdon struck again to inflict more pain when prop Nick Witt barged his way over in the corner with once more Nicholson serving up the extras on a platter.
There was still enough time left for Vale to try and salvage something from the debris and in the 74th minute quick-thinking at a tap penalty allowed flanker Jack Ayrton to hurtle over for a try converted by Briggs with a drop kick.
Suddenly Vale’s boilers began to work at near full capacity, winger Ike Eastwood raced away, man of the match, lock Harry Fellows, was at the centre of a rumbustious, roaring attack but it was all too little and far too late to repair the damage as Bowdon went onto collect only their third victory of the season.