DESPITE a capricious swirling wind, both the Vale of Lune and Lymm produced a highly entertaining, competitive cup tie that contained all the elements associated with cup rugby.
Vale, who had already secured a home victory against Lymm in December, set off at cracking pace.
Their forwards were whipped along by skipper Lee Farnworth in the engine room of some forceful drives that successfully pinned the visitors back on their goal line.
The highly destructive back row of Huw Marsden, Ben Charley and Issac Turton caused mayhem as they flew off the edge of the rucks, while the backs tried hard to unlock the visitors’ defence.
Lymm remained steadfast under severe pressure, as their experienced players took control and gradually the tide began to turn.
The visitors’ two lively half backs allied to a strong pack, whose presence was beginning to emerge, forced the Vale back with a number of attacks that had them scurrying to head off the danger which had started to threaten.
An optimistic drop goal from Lymm’s stand-off flew wide of the target at the end of a most energetic first quarter.
The second 20 saw both sides battling between the respective 22s, but it was not for want of trying that any clear cut chances emerged.
An engrossing half ended with Gareth Price’s penalty goal attempt hanging in the wind and eventually falling short of the target, but 10 minutes into the second half the Vale broke the deadlock with a well constructed try.
The ball was moved quickly crossfield, centre Jamie Antcliffe straightened up the line as he powered in Lymm’s 22 before sending Kieran Doyle flashing between the posts for a try converted by Price.
Antcliffe again featured in the Vale’s next score.
With both sides now trying to gain some advantage from the gusting wind, the Vale kicked deep into Lymm territory.
The Vale forwards arrived in force, the ball was moved unceremoniously wide, Antcliffe accelerated onto a pass in a move that ended with Jamie Gibson scoring wide out on the left.
From a difficult angle, Price lashed the ball over in the 55th minute. Prop Tom Smith had to be replaced but Matt Field only lasted a short time and also had to be replaced by Oli Simmons as the Vale ran out of front row replacements.
In the meantime Lymm’s stand-off had put over a penalty goal in the 68th minute and the scrums went uncontested.
At the end of a contest which tested the stamina of the players there were a number of serious contenders for Vale’s man of the match award.
In the back row Turton worked prodigiously throughout, Charnley efficiently claimed line-out ball at important times, hooker Rob O’Brien put in a full shift and of course Antcliffe was the provider.
The man of the match award went to prop Josh O’Donnell, who not only scrummaged convincingly against a strong opponent but was industrious in the loose and tackled with uncompromising vigour; a popular choice by his fellow players who witnessed his contributions first hand.
Vale of Lune A: G Price, W Blyth, J Gibson, J Antcliffe, J Reeves, K Doyle, J Whyke, T Smith (M Field 66, O Simmons 76), R O’Brien, J O’Donnell, L Farnworth (capt), A Foxcroft, H Marsden, I Turton, B Charnley.