Vale of Lune 57-22 Northwich
Powderhouse Lane erupted on Saturday as North One West champions Vale of Lune were presented with the trophy by league secretary Ken Potter.
Banners were unfurled, fireworks let off, hoards of young players proudly wearing their cherry and white jerseys joined the champions for photographs on a day when the past, present and future of the Vale were united on a glorious spring afternoon.
It was an historic occasion for the club in general and for one player in particular, Damon Hall, because his second try in extra time confirmed a new try scoring record of 42, one better than the one Nick Royle set in the 2013/14 season.
The winger now has his sights firmly set on established a new points scoring record and after his haul of 22 against Northwich he needs eight more to equal Mike Curran’s total of 429 set in the 1980/81 season, with two more games remaining at Burnage and Wilmslow.
Almost before the first splodge of moisturiser had been applied the Vale scored when Fergus Owens dashed over for a second minute try converted by Hall.
Northwich, whose aim was to secure an outright play off slot proved to be dangerous on the counter and after one such attack they were awarded a penalty which stand-off, Nick Baldwin kicked in the 13th minute.
On the half hour the Vale pack shunted their opponents backwards in their own twenty two. Scrum half Billy Swarbrick waited patiently for the ball to emerge before flipping a delightful pass into the hands of centre Ben Dorrington who in a flash was touching between the posts, Hall added the conversion.
The home supporters had plenty to cheer about in the 36th minute when the pack once again rumbled Northwich off the ball. A swift attack to the left was launched to send winger Olly Jacques over in the corner for an unconverted try.
The half ended as it had begun with a Vale try. Stand-off, Jack Turton, kicked into the left hand corner, the ball flittered around but it was Olly Jacques who settled any arguments by touching down wide out, his bonus point try being converted by Hall with a superb measured conversion.
Vale went further ahead in the 47th minute when Hall scorched round for his try which he converted following yet another churning Vale scrum.
Dorrington’s second try in the 58th minute was to be treasured when he sold a sublime dummy to go rocketing over for an unconverted try.
Just after the hour mark Northwich’s talented full back, Joel Barber, carved his way through Vale’s defence for his try which Baldwin converted.
Barber was over again five minutes later in the right hand corner, the try being converted by Baldwin, but a 45 metre solo run Jack Ayrton extended Vale’s lead.
Sam Wallbank strode away from the front of a line out unopposed in the 74th minute for a try converted by Hall.
Hayden Skinkis touched down for an unconverted try soon after for Northwich but in the fourth minute of extra time Hall wrote his name into the record books with one of his trademark tries, a chip over the defenders, then collecting the ball at full tilt and racing round the dead ball area to plonk the ball down in front of a mass of knowledgeable, roaring home supporters.