Vale of Lune 29-20 Bolton

Ben Charnley sprinting flat out for the Vale of Lune against Bolton. Picture: Tony North
Ben Charnley sprinting flat out for the Vale of Lune against Bolton. Picture: Tony North
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Vale of Lune returned to winning ways and moved up to third in North One West with another four-try bonus point victory in their first ever league meeting with Bolton on Saturday.

Fergus Owens’ side continued to stick to their principles of heads up rugby with a fast, exciting and punishing pace set by both sides from the kick off at Powderhouse Lane.

Captain Sam Wallbank under pressure against Bolton. Picture: Tony North

Captain Sam Wallbank under pressure against Bolton. Picture: Tony North

The hosts took the lead when Ollie Dobson jinked his way down the left wing after his colleagues had put pace on the ball for a try converted efficiently by Charlie Lomas in the fifth minute.

The visitors started to take the game to the Vale and an eighth minute well struck penalty from stand off Mike Mills boosted their confidence.

Four minutes later the Vale were trapped deep in their twenty two as Bolton’s pack moved ominously towards the line, at the perfect moment the ball was transferred to the blind side where winger Mike Richardson was ideally placed to cross for a try which Mills converted with from wide on the right.

From this point on the game gathered momentum and the Vale had to treat a lively Bolton side with the upmost respect. There were a number of dangerous attacks involving forwards and backs in unison that the home side could not ignore.

With 10 minutes remaining in the opening 40 the Vale turned down a kick at goal from a penalty but three minutes later, Dan Baines, at his uncompromising best, stormed over after receiving a slick pass at a line out.

Lomas added the conversion and followed this with a successful penalty goal in the third minute of injury time.

Play swung from end-to-end at the start of the second half but the first score came from the home side courtesy of Ben Dorrington’s ball juggling skills before he released Rob Lamberton just inside his own half.

The winger sprinted down the right hand touchline, outstripping the cover before arcing round behind the posts for a classic try, Lomas put over the conversion in the 53rd minute.

Vale’s 14-point lead was reduced in the 61st minute when Richardson finished off a move after centre, Will Bate had, not for the first time, eluded a number of tackles.

Any thoughts of the game being shunted into the long grass were never an option for either side but as the game moved into injury time Dorrington peppered a measured penalty kick into touch for a five metre lineout.

The code worked, the forwards clamped the ball and edged their way to the line. Cool heads prevailed and once the whitewash was crossed down went Baines for an unconverted try that notched up the bonus point.

The threat from Bolton never receded and in the seventh minute of injury time replacement Spencer Pettitt scored wide out on the right but unfortunately Mills was unable to secure a losing bonus point for his side with his conversion kick.

Vale of Lune: T Ball, R Lamberton, B Dorrington, C Weeks, O Dobson, C Lomas, B Swarbrick, J Hesketh, P Berry, R Pillow, A Foxcroft, B Charnley, D Baines, S Ackers, S Wallbank (capt). Replacements used: T Moreira, M Barker, A Macluskie.