Vale 58-31 Amselmians

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THE Vale of Lune and Anselmians produced the perfect way to banish the Christmas blues with a delicious 13-try layered gateaux of a game.

The forwards lobbed in a tasty five tries with joint men of the match, Lee Acton and Sam Wallbank, two fleet-footed locks, collecting two each and prop James Hesketh swallow-diving his way to the final try.

The backs did muscle in on the act. Adam Macluskie fully deserved his try following a strong all round performance, stand-off Oli Carter, despite his tender years, ghosted through with a will of the wisp run and James Hodder again underlined his self-belief with a mazy run that began 10 metres inside his own half.

But in the euphoria of the Vale’s highest points victory of the season it must be pointed out they conceded five tries, but this goes with the territory and ethos of a side that is committed to outscoring the opposition.

Vale opened the scoring in the first minute, while spectators were streaming out of the clubhouse, when Tom Carter smoothly put over a penalty.

Anselmians took the game to the Vale in the early stages but in the 17th minute the Vale extended their lead.

In a flowing attack that involved the Carter brothers, space was created for Macluskie to power his way over for an unconverted try.

Two minutes later Tom Carter kicked a second penalty after an Anselmians player was shown a yellow card.

Vale took immediate advantage of the situation to pile on the points and agony for the visitors.

Wallbank collected the ball on half way and proceeded to sprint for the line, leaving the opposition trailing in his wake. Tom Carter converted from in front.

In the 23rd minute Acton grabbed a slice of the action when he completed a move that involved Macluskie and prop Alex Cowey playing pivotal roles, again Tom Carter added the two points.

Anselmians refused to crawl into their shell because they too had a desire to move the ball and with eight minutes remaining they were rewarded with a try.

Vale’s defensive network got itself in an untidy jumble as winger Matt Pennington brushed aside some listless tacking for his try.

It came as no surprise that the home side had the last word with a stunning try.

Again, Macluskie played an integral role in the build-up, but it was the impish Oli Carter who went skipping between the uprights after he had flung a few dummies in for good measure for his first senior try after four appearances. Elder brother Tom added the conversion to round off a pretty emphatic half for the Vale.

If the Vale ended the first half on a high note they began the second with a fanfare and flourish.

Darren Wilson made a lightning break that took him clear of the majority of the defenders and deep into Anselmians’ territory.

Acton had tracked the number nine’s run to receive a pass 30 metres from the line.

He quickly glanced to left and right before pinning his ears back and bolted away for his try, Tom Carter again converted.

But again the Vale let their guard drop and in the 46th minute the ever alert Simione Mafi drifted over for a try converted by Simon Mason.

Vale’s answer was swift and sure when Hodder cut loose.

He side stepped his way over half way, cut crossfield and as the defenders fanned out he dipped back inside, switched on the turbocharger and in a puff of smoke was off and away for his try in the 49th minute which Tom Carter converted.

Wallbank deservedly brought up the half century with his unconverted try.

Danny Lin, who had a magnificent game in a rampaging back row of Gareth Tudor and the hard grafting Ben Charnley, sliced through prior to linking with Wallbank.

The lock was tackled centimetres short of the line but he had enough strength to ease his tackler out of the way to ground the ball.

A series of mauls paved the way for Anselmians’ third try, claimed by Tanni Haunga and converted by Mason in the 65th minute.

Hesketh displayed his artistic skills when he touched down with a series of deft movements that would have graced any gymnastics mat.

Jimmy Moore made all the early running with a languid break, to his credit Hesketh was in the right place at the right time and when all the oohs and aahs had died down Tom Carter popped over the conversion.

Anselmians secured their try bonus point in the 73rd minute with a try from Pennington converted by Mason and two minutes later when the Vale failed to clear a bobbling ball on their goal line Paddy McDonagh ended the speculation by touching it down.

In a thoroughly enjoyable game, where youth made a valuable contribution, special mention must be made of referee Matthew Riley, who officiated with calm authority throughout.

Vale of Lune: T Carter, J Hodder, J Higgin, J Moore, A Macluskie, O Carter, D Wilson (capt), J Hesketh, P Berry (A Powers 66), A Cowey, L Acton (A Baines 66), S Wallbank, G Tudor, D Lin (J Clarkson 66), B Charnley.