The curtain came down on Vale of Lune’s North One West season at Round Ash Park with a disappointing defeat for the visitors who failed to reach one of their season’s targets, a top four finish.
However, some consolation could be salvaged from the third successive loss on Leigh soil, because the Vale did achieve their highest league placing since the 2012/13 season.
Andy Powers, in his 100th game, led the Vale out who began positively, moving the ball swiftly and quickly had Leigh defending deep in their own half.
Dan Baines and brother Alex featured in the build up to the opening try scored by Adam Foxcroft who powered his way confidently over, his try being converted by Ben Dorrington in the sixth minute.
Leigh began to play with increasing confidence and after putting the Vale under intense pressure winger Olly Shepherd went over in the right hand corner for an unconverted try in the 17th minute.
With three minutes remaining of the first half the Vale added to their score in style when full back Adam Macluskie collected the ball deep in his own half to make a 50 metre incisive run deep into Leigh territory.
Scrum half Charlie Lomas completed a thrilling phase of rugby with an unconverted try. Just before half time Elliot Ryan kicked a penalty for Leigh and three minute into the second half they took the lead.
The Vale made rather a meal of defending their line which allowed centre Ross Shepherd to poach a try converted by Elliot Ryan.
After such an inauspicious start the Vale regrouped and following a forward drive Ben Dorrington kicked a 47th minute penalty to bring his side back on level terms.
Both sides probed for openings, neither could achieve any sustained dominance, but it was all gutsy, committed rugby from two sides who were not just going through the motions, because even in the final game of the season there was still plenty to play for.
With six minutes of scheduled time left on the clock the Vale broke the deadlock with a Ben Dorrington penalty after the forwards had driven forward in harness, but two minutes later the Vale started to catastrophically implode.
Vale made a hash of controlling a kick downfield which resulted in Leigh being awarded a scrum thirty metres out from Vale’s line on the left.
The ball was moved swiftly to the right and before the Vale could organise a reception committee, Olly Shepherd went over in the corner, Elliot Ryan added the conversion in the 76th minute.
Even after this upset the Vale were within losing bonus point range at the very least, but everything was thrown through the window with a moment of madness on their own 22 three minutes later. An attempt was made to take a quick drop out but all that transpired was that the Vale gifted a try to Olly Shepherd which Elliot Ryan converted.
The game ended on a sour note when a mass brawl broke out which resulted in two red cards being flashed by referee Le Feuvre towards one Leigh player, and Dan Baines.
*Vale’s third team rounded off their season in style gaining promotion to Division Two North following their 37-5 home win against Clitheroe 1, to gain revenge after suffering a 36-16 defeat back in September.