Broughton Park 26, Vale of Lune 32: Vale survive late fightback to seal victory over Park
It would be fair to say that the season has not opened too briskly for either of these two clubs, finding the right combination and getting into the groove after such a long lay-off has proved burdensome.
However, not all clubs in North One West have experienced these growing pains because a glance at the league table shows that Stockport and Kendal have hit the ground running.
What is happening at the top end of the table is of little concern for Vale of Lune and Broughton Park at the moment because both clubs need to concentrate on pulling away from the danger zone and certainly Vale’s bonus try victory was just what the doctor ordered after two heavy defeats at the hands of Cumbrian opposition in the past two weeks .
Vale’s second league win of the season did not arrive smoothly because they suffered from the collywobbles in the closing 25 minutes.
In the 56th minute Vale’s lock forward, Harry Fellows, celebrated his 100th appearance with an unconverted try when he quickly snaffled the ball at a 10-metre lineout to out-think those around him to touch down for the neatest five pointer.
For Vale a healthy 32-12 lead looked in little danger but Park had other ideas and in the 65th minute they sowed the first seeds of doubt in Vale’s minds. Stand off, Josh Hodkinson, a classy player, danced through Vale’s defence to set up a try for Josh Leighton, which the No.10 converted.
Hodkinson continued to torment Vale, he was an inspiration to those around him and in the 77th minute he converted a second Leighton try.
The alarm bells started to ring loudly for Vale, nerves were stretched to the limit as Park continued to probe but Vale eventually tightened their defence and quickly plugged any gaps to ensure they recorded their second league win of the season.
With scrum-half Billy Swarbrick back in action for his first league game of the season, Vale were soon on the front foot, launching some promising attacks but a purposeful opening only reward was an 11th minute penalty goal from Chris Ramwell.
Five minutes later Park moved into the lead after a strong run from winger Mike Canning, who breezed his way through some weak tackling before Frank Tuffail Smith touched down between the posts, Hodkinson added the conversion.
Vale came back into contention with a series of flowing attacks and in the 24th minute Ramwell cut back inside from out wide for an eye catching try which he converted.
A minute later Sam Wallbank hot footed after a kick deep into Park territory, he outpaced the cover to neatly sweep the ball up for an unconverted try.
On the half hour a sequence of polished passes created space for Matthew Humpage to collect a try that oozed quality in the build up, unfortunately Ramwell saw the ball wobble off the kicking tee as he struck it.
Park tested Vale’s defence in the closing minutes of the half, but it was Vale who hit the running at the beginning of the second half.
Another series of crisp cross field of passes enabled Jordan Fern to sprint clear for a try converted by Ramwell.
In the 50th minute Park displayed their battling spirit to create space for prop Donald George to score an unconverted try wide out.
Vale appeared to be in a comfortable position following Fellows’ try but Park upped the ante and came close to springing a major surprise.
Vale of Lune: O Branford, A Powers ©, R O’Heirhir; J Robinson, H Fellows; T Nicholson, J Ayrton, S Wallbank. B Swarbrick, H Finan; M Humpage, J Turton, O Jacques, J Fern; C Ramwell. Reps: J Hesketh, S Tagg, A Briggs.
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