Vale of Lune’s head coach has admitted this North One West season is one of consolidation for his young side.
Paul Woodward believes expecting promotion or the play-offs would be naive with his eyes already on what can be achieved next season.
Vale, currently fourth in the table, had a free weekend after their league clash with Widnes was postponed with the Cheshire side appealing against a decision for the original match from December to be replayed.
Woodward said: “This year is all about consolidating and trying to finish as high up the table as we can.
“We can’t get promotion and I think the play-off spot is out of our reach.
“There have been plenty of playing changes with younger players coming in so it’s about consolidating and trying to bring in a couple of experienced players in the summer so we can push for promotion next season.”
Vale are due to travel to Kendal on Saturday. Elsewhere at the weekend, both Vale’s A and B teams were in action and enjoyed mixed fortunes.
The A team lost 40-0 at Sale 2nds in the Brooke Edgley Specialists Services Cup first round.
The visitors were hit by injuries and were in contention up until the hour mark, only for the mounting casualty list to take its toll having started with only two replacements.
After an excellent first half for the visitors, Sale scored two converted tries in the 62nd and 65th minutes respectively before a backs to the wall scenario developed for the Vale but they held out until the 77th minute when Sale’s experienced right winger flashed over for a converted try.
In an extended period of extra time because of the toll of injuries Sale buffed up their total with two further converted tries that did not truly reflect the contribution made by the Vale before their ambitions were thwarted by the constant reshuffling of personnel.
On the other hand, Vale B were 22-17 winners over Preston Grasshoppers 6ths in the first round of the Lighting Building Services Plate at Powderhouse Lane.
Dan Charles kicked a penalty goal to give Vale the lead before Preston surged ahead with an unconverted try in the 13th minute in what had been a lively opening.
Richard Dewar then hit back with a try converted by Charles in the 20th minute.
With 16 minutes of a compelling half remaining Preston levelled the scores with an unconverted try after a huge overlap had been created.
In the first minute of the second half the Vale retook the lead when Dewar broke through a number of tackles in a quicksilver move that had begun when Dene Hickling had secured the ball, Charles added the conversion.
A languid break from Paul McAllister set up Vale’s third try in the 57th minute which was finished off by Jack Knowles.
In the final minute the visitors’ forwards muscled their way over for a converted try in the last move of the game.