“WHAT goes around comes around” perfectly reflects the Vale of Lune’s first visit to the Memorial Ground since they lost 38-27 last November after leading 24-6 at half-time.
This time it was Wilmslow who were overhauled after they had established what appeared to be a match winning lead, 23-12, at the interval and then early in the second 40 stretched it to 26-12.
Throughout the game the game the Vale were forced to contend with a number of problems which involved shuffling around their line-up.
Even before kick-off Sam Wallbank looked distinctly groggy, his place being taken by Andy Garnett with Gareth Tudor moving into the second row and Wallbank taking his place gingerly on the replacement’s bench.
In the 35th minute full-back Tom Ball suffered a knee injury, James Hodder went to full-back, the versatile Andy Powers moved to the centre with Oli Cowey taking his place at hooker.
Then with five minute of the second half remaining winger, 18-year-old Sam Moorby, another of the crop of Vale’s talented players, received a fierce clattering with a brave tackle and attempted interception.
Play was halted immediately, the respective physios were quickly on the scene, a paramedic arrived and after nine minutes the injured player was eventually carried off when all the tests had been completed.
Wilmslow’s main pitch had undergone a massive pre-season make over and looked glorious in the warm September sunshine, and on a perfect pitch, with its backdrop of trees in full leaf, the players from both sides made it a day to remember.
Fresh from their savaging of Anselmians the Wolves were quickly on the attack and after four minutes were licking their chops in anticipation when winger Ed Armitage touched down wide out after an overlap was created.
Three minutes later the Vale showed they were not afraid of the big bad wolf when Jimmy Moore escaped the snapping teeth with a silky run to provide the opportunity for James Hodder to prance between the posts for a try which Moore converted.
Wilmslow snorted and growled at such impertinence in their own den and in the 11th minute they retook the lead when winger Ben Day crashed through several tackles after an orthodox three-quarter movement that again stretched the Vale.
Two penalty goals from Armitage, in the 21st and 25th minutes, had the pack polishing up their ivories as they went hunting down further points.
Full-back Ollie McCall sallied forth from deep and the move was completed by centre Richard Hughes with a try converted by Armitage.
Suddenly the Vale were well and truly in disarray but in the 43rd minute they managed to push the closet door ajar to catch their tormentors napping.
Moore and Hodder combined to slice through the home sides’ cover defence in the build up to a well taken unconverted try by Adam Macluskie.
An early second half penalty from Armitage established a 14-point lead for Wilmslow as the Vale’s future looked as bleak as Red Riding’s Grandma.
Hodder produced a well balanced pacy run from well inside his own half that set the alarm bells ringing for the home side.
In the 50th minute the Vale showed that the pendulum was swinging their way when Moorby confidently cut a swathe through the defence after his forwards had worked as a solid unit to ensure quality possession, Moore converted the winger’s first senior try.
Suddenly the Vale started to play with a passion and intensity that had been lacking in the first half as Wilmslow were pushed on to the back foot, their fires were being damped down as the Vale edged ever closer.
Moore kicked a penalty goal in the 54th minute to close the gap to four points but Armitage slotted over a penalty goal after the Vale had over complicated things in their own 22 when they attempted to run the ball out.
As the game approached the hour mark, and with Lee Acton in the sin-bin, the Vale levelled the scores with a strike that dealt a huge psychological blow to Wilmslow.
The home side’s forwards appeared to have enough muscle to protect the ball close to their line; it was only a matter of smuggling it back for it to be cleared into touch.
But somewhere in that dark underworld Danny Lin spotted a chink of light, snaffled the ball and bounded away behind the posts for the try bonus point, as the Wilmslow defenders slid beneath the blankets, Moore converted.
Two minutes later as Wilmslow were groping for their fangs, Hodder made a break and powered down field, and he unselfishly kicked ahead when many thought he could have scorched over himself.
Powers collected the ball to race away for a try converted by Moore as the nightmare for Wilmslow continued to unfold.
Moore kicked a straight penalty with eight minute remaining but this was followed immediately by Moorby’s injury.
When play resumed the Vale posted their final score when the tireless Andy Garnett scored a popular try after Jonty Higgin, Moore and Acton had linked effectively, Moore again converted.
Wilmslow secured their try bonus point following a late rally, Armitage touching down wide on the right to bring the curtain down on what had been a splendid contest and not only for the neutrals, although the home side’s supporters must have wondered why it had all gone wrong as did the Vale aficionados on November 5.
Vale of Lune: T Ball (O Cowey 35), J Hodder, A Macluskie, J Higgin, S Moorby, J Moore, D Wilson, A Cowey (J Hesketh 26), A Powers, M Hanson, G Tudor, L Acton, A Garnett, D Lin, A Baines (S Wallbank 50).
*Vale of Lune lost their top spot in North One West to Sale on points difference after the Cheshire side had won at Anselmians 63-14.
Wirral, in third place, won at home against Leigh 26-17.
The two other undefeated clubs in the league, Widnes and Liverpool St Helens, were victorious; Widnes at home against Manchester 44-20, and Liverpool St Helens at Carlisle 12-5.
Altrincham Kersal were home winners against Rochdale 19-18, while Kirkby Lonsdale opened their account at Fleetwood with a 28-24 victory.