A mini tornado swept through parts of Cumbria earlier in the week but conditions were perfect at Winters Park as the Vale of Lune and Penrith faced each other again in league rugby after a long absence.
Vale’s attacking policy ensured an exciting contest but the visitors were frustrated when they were unable to break down one of the meanest defences in the league; all the Vale had to show for their efforts was a losing bonus point.
Penrith opened the scoring in the seventh minute when stand off Pale Tuilagi kicked the first of his four penalties. The Vale might have slipped deeper in debt but the fly half was off target with two penalty shots in the 11th and 13th minutes.
In the meantime the Vale were harnessing their resources and began to take the game to the home side with a number of confidence boosting quicksilver attacks. Both Rob Lamberton and Ben Dorrington made their presence felt in a fast moving opening quarter of attack and counter attack.
In the 31st minute Charlie Lomas kicked a penalty after a period of Vale dominance but Penrith were equal to anything that the Vale threw at them and in the closing minutes of an entertaining half Tuilagi popped over two penalty goals.
The disappointment of conceding points quickly evaporated as far as the Vale were concerned when straight from the kick off in the second half the ball was efficiently transferred crossfield to Lamberton’s berth.
The winger did not require any second bidding to floor the accelerator as he raced away for his try. Lomas saw his well struck conversion hit an upright but the ball bounced back infield.
Six minutes after Vale’s score Penrith widened the gap when Ben Littleton cut back inside to wrong foot Vale’s defenders, for an unconverted try. But the scoreboard continued to rattle along when the Vale went ahead in the 54th minute and it came as no surprise that Dorrington was the try scorer.
Another powerful run from the centre completed a move that began with Billy Swarbrick’s quick thinking when the Vale were awarded a penalty, the scrum half tapping and going before Penrith could shore up the barricades; Lomas put over the conversion.
A one point lead comes with a warning red triangle and sure enough the inevitable happened in the 59th minute when the Vale infringed and Tuilagi’s boot hammered another three point nail in.
As was to be expected a fit looking Vale side went all out for the winning score, determination was etched on their faces but Penrith were well organised, they refused to panic and effectively sealed any avenue the Vale tried to exploit in a rousing finale.