Vale of Lune finished their home North One West campaign on a high with a win over Warrington in their final Powderhouse Lane clash of the season.
A try bonus point victory, bringing their total to 19, one behind champions Birkenhead Park’s, was recorded ahead of Vale’s final game at Underley Park against second-placed Kirkby Lonsdale who are heading for the play-offs after a tremendous season.
The Vale’s first try of the day was a landmark one.
In the third minute Ian Bird went barrelling over the line to mark his 350th appearance with his 117th Vale try, this one converted by Oli Carter.
This score set the game’s pattern, both sides were willing to move the ball around in front of a large home crowd that included a host of former players and a number of the club’s hard-working volunteers who had been invited to the pre-match lunch.
The Vale section were given something to cheer when after a forward drive was halted the Vale were awarded a penalty and in the blink of an eye Ben Dorrington tapped the ball to himself and went over for a try converted by Carter in the 14th minute.
Vale’s quick-thinking might have undone Warrington but five minutes later the tables were turned when they failed to close down a dangerous scurrying run from scrum half Tom Wood, who went onto to score a fine individual try which he converted.
The hosts continued to press however and in the closing minutes of the half they consolidated their lead.
Scrum half Charlie Lomas sniped his way over from a tap penalty for an unconverted try in the 35th minute and three minutes later the try bonus point flag was raised as Carter went over for an unconverted try after he had been the recipient of a flipped pass from Andy Powers.
The second half started with Warrington launching a series of attacks with the benefit of the breeze in their favour, but the Vale’s defence proved resolute.
There were few frills but plenty of thrills in the opening quarter of an hour and in the 56th minute the Vale scored a try that had their supporters raising the roof.
The move began deep in their own half when Richards had embarked on a scuttling run before Carter carried the move on, gaining in confidence with each stride on the way to a fine solo try. Three minutes later Warrington were again unable to “Get Carter” when the centre cut back inside at pace, drew the defenders before releasing Tom Crookall, on debut, for a try that capped a grafting performance.
At the other end in the 66th minute a stretched Vale defence were unable to stop lock forward Luke Johnston crossing for a try converted by Wood that completed the scoring.
Vale of Lune: B Swarbrick; A Richards, I Bird, O Carter, T Crookall; F Owens, C Lomas; P McLaren-Dorrington, D Baines, R Pillow; B Charnley, A Baines; S Wallbank (capt), A Powers, B Dorrington. Replacements used; J Ayrton, J McIntosh, T Smith.