LAST time the Vale of Lune crossed swords with Yorkshire opposition was towards the end of the 2004/05 season when they lost 53-20 at Hull in a North One fixture.
The time gap is even longer since they last played against Ilkley who used to be regulars on Vale’s fixture list well into the 60s and early 70s; very much a case of “wheear ‘ast tha bin sin ah saw thee?”
Certainly expanding Vale fixture lists then the introduction of merit table rugby and eventually a national league system were all contributing factors in the two clubs moving apart.
In a day of sunshine and showers, the Vale’s main pitch looked in stunning condition.
A shimmering Lincoln green playing surface was bisected with brilliant, ramrod straight white lines; the whole panorama a tribute to the painstaking efforts of Vale’s volunteer ground staff who had devoted many hours of work in challenging conditions since the end of the previous season.
This was the perfect carpet for the prancers and dancers to cavort over but they did not have it all their own way because the game was punctuated by some old fashioned grumble and grunt, in particular from the Ilkley forwards who successfully engaged their opposite numbers in some prolonged arm wrestling.
However, it was the fleet footed Vale who made all the early running.
A fired up Lee Acton was held up short of the line in the opening minutes as the Vale pinged the ball around.
But the home side had to wait until the seventh minute for a score when, from an Ilkley counter attack, a surprised Jimmy Moore was gifted a pass in his own half.
He accelerated through a flat defence for a 60 metre solo try which he converted.
Four minutes later the Vale launched a quick fire passing movement from their own half that ended with winger Luke Richmond accelerating away for a well taken try, converted by Moore.
Gradually Ilkley, via their well organised forwards, began to stabilise the situation.
The dangers of letting the Vale run free with the ball were all too obvious and so a game of pick and drive evolved.
Eventually the visitors’ tactics were rewarded when following a period of sustained pressure inside the home side’s 22 they scored a deserved converted try.
But in the closing minutes of an entertaining half the Vale again indulged in a productive swift handling move.
Richmond delivered a perfect pass for Moore to race over for his second try which he converted.
At the start of the second half the Ilkley forwards ruthlessly went about their business, compressing the Vale close to their line and only some last ditch tackling prevented a score.
See the The Visitor (31-08-11) for full story.