Vale of Lune regained the lead twice in what was a Herculean team performance against Firwood Waterloo on Saturday, stretching their record to six wins so far this season.
Firwood Waterloo searched in vain for any opening but Vale’s well drilled defence covered all the avenues to frustrate the hosts, in addition Firwood Waterloo’s forwards were unable to build any sustainable base for any lengthy periods in Vale’s half.
Just after the 20 minute mark the Vale went into a deserved lead.
Sam Wallbank began the move with one of his typical barrelling runs, thrusting would be tacklers out his way with little ceremony.
The ball was moved rapidly crossfield with a series of ice cool passes – winger Olly Jacques received the ball in what appeared to be a rather crowded corridor but he spotted a glimmer of light and almost from a standing start accelerated away on a 25 metre dash for an unconverted try.
Firwood Waterloo took a leaf from the Vale’s book and began to move the ball around.
Relentless pressure brought its reward with a penalty which stand off Tom Booth put over in the 30th minute to complete what had been a compelling half, although both sets of players looked in need of a half time break because play became very scrappy and disjointed in the period leading up to the whistle.
At the start of the second half Firwood Waterloo’s pack came out breathing fire and snorting, it might have been something to do with an impassioned half time team talk, but they set about the Vale with eye watering vigour.
Vale were forced to back pedal, but their defence held firm against a pack that stuck firmly to a trusted hymn sheet.
There was no chance that the home side’s right winger’s semaphores for a cross kick were to be answered because the forwards had their own agenda.
Regardless of allegiances, there is something to be admired to see a pack going about its business, and the Firwood Waterloo eight had only one concept in the front of the minds.
They drove, churned and edged ever closer, passing the ten metre, five metre signposts on their march for a try which was secured in the 48th minute when flanker Alwyn Watkin Williams plunged on the ball, his try being converted by Tom Booth.
On the hour the Vale regained the lead with a try that reflected their ability to snaffle up a chance when it presented itself.
Jack Turton launched an accurate kick into Firwood Waterloo’s dead ball area and while the defenders pondered the situation Jack Ayrton, who had a magnificent game, was onto the ball in a flash for his try which Damon Hall converted from a difficult angle on the left.
The lead only lasted five minute because Tom Booth kicked a penalty goal but there was little time to savour the two point lead because Damon Hall blasted a penalty through the wind and rain from wide on the right in the sixty eighth minute.
Ten minutes of pain and pleasure awaited those on either side of the fence as the drama unfolded, while for those who were quite happy to squat on the middle well they were in for a treat.
Route one was the preferred option for Firwood Waterloo but Vale’s forwards knew what was coming their way and effectively defused the situation and always had time to clear the danger.
Hall made a brave mark and then hoofed the ball miles down field, Jack Ayrton was a constant menace, prop Ros Pillow was rock solid as Firwood Waterloo made a last onslaught but the Vale were in no mood to let their lead slip.