Selection issues hit Vale coaches hard in tough start to new campaign
A break in fixtures for the Vale of Lune's senior sides provides time for some reflection on how the season has progressed so far.
Undoubtedly it has not been the perfect start as the relative league positions highlight. The first team are in 12th position in a 14 club league, as are the second team, with the thirds in eighth spot out of 13, while the fourths are at the bottom in 12th place.
It has been a struggle to build any momentum due to a number of factors including injuries, unavailability and worryingly, a shortage of players - a situation which has rebounded on the team managers.
Resources have at times been stretched to the limit, resulting in teams travelling short and occasionally struggling to raise a full compliment of players for home games.
However, there were encouraging signs before Saturday’s shut down that a number were returning to the fold but at close of play on October 8 only four victories had been recorded by the senior sides.
Last season at a similar stage on the calendar the first team had won two from their six games played and collected 12 points.
The seconds were without a win from six, the thirds had only played two but had won one, with the fourths winning two from four.
So the numbers, when stacked up, are very similar, but it must be remembered how the season ended for the respective teams which in turn shows what can happen when circumstances alter.
The first team finished in fifth place in North One West, which was their best finish since their third place in the 2012/13 season.
After a turbulent part one to their season in the Cotton Traders Premier League the seconds regained stability in Conference B to finish in a creditable 10th place.
It had also been a lack lustre start for the thirds but they eventually gained promotion from Division Three North, winning seven of their final 10 games.
As always the fourths are always the hardest hit when injuries begin to mount further up the chain, but they finished their season in 10th place.
Currently the Four Horseman of the Apocalypse are not banging at the doors but some snorting and pounding of hooves can be heard in the distance, whether the Vale of Lune will be become swathed in their hot breath will depend on an upturn in their fortunes during the coming weeks.
These are critical times with crucial games awaiting, as the autumn leaves begin to fall and before winter sets in, for all the teams.
Appropriately, Vale of Lune wasted little time in appointing a new Directory of Rugby, former player and coach, Paul Dorrington, will pick up the reins following the resignation of Phil Stott at the beginning of the month.