Vale 31-5 Northwich

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VALE of Lune are currently a side packed full of midget gems and against Northwich they burst out of the box in a tumbling torrent, a lip-smacking assault on the taste buds.

During the course of the game Vale lost the services of both their props through injury, Dan Woodward and James Hesketh, but replacement Alex Morrison and Jack Ferguson more than coped with the pressures.

Towards the end Alex Baines was also helped off after yet another 100 per cent contribution from the youngster.

Despite all the difficulties encountered by the pack they refused to buckle and this was personified during a nine-minute period of intense Northwich pressure deep inside their own 20 in the second half.

As the visitors’ pack turned up the heat Berry was sent to the sin bin for offering the referee too much advice, and even though the scrums were uncontested in his absence Northwich still made life difficult for the Vale.

With everyone playing their part in repelling wave upon wave of Northwich attacks, eventually a gap opened up and prop Lawrence Cray was catapulted over the line for an unconverted try in the 63rd minute.

Northwich’s hopes of victory were dashed within minutes of the restart though as Ferguson muscled in on the scene and with Northwich players clinging all over him he still found the strength to slip the ball to Gareth Tudor.

Suddenly the number eight, who had a massive game, was running free in acres of space for a well deserved try converted by Moore.

With Berry back on the field the Vale eight had the satisfaction of pushing their opposite numbers off the ball, and in the second minute of injury time a jubilant Moore dummied his way through a maze for the bonus point try which he converted.

There was an air of pre-match apprehension as spectators studied Vale’s line-up and glanced with a wary eye at the physique of the Cheshire lads.

But after an early scare when the visitors’ goal kicker Chris Dale missed a fourth minute penalty kick, any dyspepsia that might have been building up quickly disappeared four minutes later when the Vale went into the lead.

Moore cross-kicked behind the Northwich defence and before the defenders could react, James Hodder collected the ball in full stride to race away for a try.

In the euphoria generated by the try few noticed prop Woodward not only gently placing the ball on the kicking tee but adding the extras.

James Curran danced his way up to the five-metre line but Woodward was off target with a penalty before he put over a 35 metre effort in the 20th minute, but the newly discovered goal kicking machine had to be replaced by Morrison in the 29th minute.

The half ended with a thrilling move from the Vale.

From a scrum the ball was swiftly moved to the right, Ball hot footed it into the line, drew in the cover before passing to Curran who was quickly went through the gears to sprint behind the posts for a try converted by Moore with four minutes remaining.

Playing into the wind in the second half the Vale played with composure. Ball hurtled through but was badly baulked as he chased his kick and Hodder twisted his way but was nailed before he found open water.

Northwich began to turn up the heat in the 53rd minute, eventually battering their way over 10 minutes later but the Vale lit up grey rainy afternoon with a brace of scores.

Vale of Lune: T Ball, J Hodder, A Powers, T McCaw, J Curran, J Moore, D Wilson (capt), J Hesketh (J Ferguson 40), P Berry, D Woodward (A Morrison 29), L Acton, S Wallbank, J Clarkson, A Baines (D Lin 72), G Tudor.