Both Vale of Lune and Wilmslow had a point to prove on Saturday after surprisingly losing the previous week to clubs below them in the pecking order of North One West, and at the final whistle it was the hosts who were victorious at The Memorial Ground.
Vale opened confidently, players were eager to get involved and Wilmslow were forced to defend but their first excursion into Vale’s twenty two produced a try in the ninth minute when stand-off Bob MacCallum popped a penalty into touch for a line out ten metres from Vale’s goal line.
Lock forward Adam Hewitt ghosted through for an unconverted try as the Vale appeared to have nodded off.
A charged down kick then led to a Wilmslow counter which ended with Bob MacCallum kicking a penalty goal in the 15th minute against the run of play.
A scoring opportunity was created in the 21st minute when from a line out Sam Wallbank and Dan Baines combined to created space for Billy Swarbrick to have a dart for the line but Wilmslow were alert to the danger.
Vale were not afraid to move the ball around and forced Wilmslow to scurry and scamper in defence.
One Vale attack resulted in Damon Hall kicking a thirty five metre penalty in the 25th minute.
Two minutes later the centre kicked a second penalty but shortly after Vale lost the services of the influential Jonty Higgin with a shoulder injury, the reshuffle in the back division did little to curb Vale’s desire to push and probe Wilmslow’s defensive net work.
Hall charged down a kick and in the mad scramble for possession Wilmslow infringed, Hall kicked the resultant penalty in the 32nd minute.
Just as the Vale appeared to taking their one point lead into the half time break Wilmslow went on the offensive and from a scrum in Vale’s twenty two they were awarded a penalty which MacCallum kicked in the fifth minute of overtime. Wilmslow started the second half by compressing the Vale but Chris Ramwell and Sam Wallbank launched a swift counter before Wilmslow took the game into the heart of Vale’s defence.
Vale were forced to man the barricades and it was during one period of turmoil that the hard working Jack Ferguson left the action through injury.
Wilmslow’s forwards sensed Vale’s discomfort at a scrum, number eight Alex Taylor picked up at the base on his way to an easy looking try which MacCallum converted from in front in the 56th minute.
Before Dan Baines was sent to the naughty step Sam Wallbank was held up short from a quickly taken tap but the writing was on the wall for the Vale when Wilmslow’s pack got their act together to shunt a disorganised Vale back towards their line.
In the ensuing pile up Adam Hewitt claimed his second try which was not converted in the 67th minute.
Shorty after Alex Cowey departed and while the Vale attempted to apply the sticking plaster Wilmslow upped the tempo. Somehow the Vale survived a series of line outs but in the 70th minute referee Taylor lost patience with the Vale’s shenanigans and awarded a penalty try which MacCallum duly converted.
Vale staged a late rally but nothing accrued in another performance that provided more questions than answers.
*On Saturday, the popular annual Vale of Lune Player’s Reunion will be held in the clubhouse commencing at 1pm.
Tickets are priced at £15 and are inclusive of lunch, admission to the North One West fixture against Blackburn and match day programme.
To reserve a place please contact Andrea at the Vale, 01524 64029.