Vale of Lune’s try bonus point victory hauled them deservedly into fourth place in North One West as they completed the double over Rochdale.
An early heave from Vale’s forwards was followed by some adventure from the backs, one flowing attack ending in Ben Dorrington kicking a penalty goal from in front after four minutes.
Vale continued to probe for an opening but a skittering run from Rochdale’s full back, Oli Coldman caught the home side by surprise.
In the 16th minute Coldman kicked a penalty but the Vale’s fortunes were boosted in the 26th minute when a Rochdale player was shown a yellow card.
Vale upped the ante, pressure was applied, Rochdale defended deeper and deeper and on the half hour Jonty Higgin powerfully surged over after some polished passing along the line, Dorrington converted from in front.
Vale continued to plunder points and four minutes later they added to their score. It was a well engineered try, the forwards did all the donkey work, the backs applied the gloss in a classy move finished off by Fergus Owens, his try being converted by Dorrington.
The final try of the half was instigated by Dorrington who directed a perfect pass into winger Tom Crookall’s hands for an unconverted try with four minutes remaining. Further Rochdale points were added when Coldman kicked a late penalty.
Thirteen minutes into the second stanza the try bonus point was pocketed in style.
Dorrington pounced on a loose ball at ground level, torpedoed a pass out to Owens who hit the turbo button for one of his textbook tries, which Dorrington converted.
Rochdale cut the deficit with a penalty try in the 57th minute. Jack Turton had a kick charged down and in the mad scramble the Vale were found guilty of barging Rochdale’s lone pursuer off the ball, Coldman converted from in front.
As the game moved into the final quarter Adam Macluskie touched for an unconverted try after a blistering run from Owens and in the second minute of stoppage time, from a 15 man scrum, Rochdale prop Dale Salmon was awarded a try in a dramatic, conversation stopping, moment.
*Vale seconds went a long way to securing their status in the Cotton Traders Premier League with a 37-0 victory at Rochdale courtesy of their hard working forwards and a magnificent performance from their back row of Sam Hoare, Danny Lin and Alex Baines.
The third team maintained their push for promotion with a 29-7 home win against Rochdale 3, but the fourths are still searching for a win that should help ease their relegation worries after losing at home to Bury seconds, 35-5.