Vale of Lune 41-17 Wilmslow

Jack Ferguson heads to score Vale's first try. Picture: Tony North.
Jack Ferguson heads to score Vale's first try. Picture: Tony North.

After a fourteen day break from action, the Vale of Lune showed no signs of ring rustiness in a momentous encounter at Powderhouse Lane against Wilmslow in appalling conditions to maintain their unbeaten record in North One West.

In all, eight tries were scored with the Vale claiming six and Damon Hall bagging his third hat trick of the season to add to the double he scored against Altrincham Kersal, as Vale picked up a try bonus point.

Wilmslow had first use of wind and a half time lead of 17-12 was not sufficient in the circumstances.

However, the visitors were the first to open the scoring with a penalty goal from stand-off and skipper Bob MacCallum in the third minute but the Vale replied in the 11th minute with a converted try.

Following a period of intense forward pressure deep in Wilmslow’s 22 and with Evan Stewart firmly in the mix, prop Jack Ferguson celebrated his up-coming birthday with a try converted by Damon Hall.

Vale’s lead only lasted three minutes because Wilmslow used their forwards to good effect and churned their way to a try for hooker Alex Donaldson which MacCallum converted with an immaculate kick.

Wilmslow tested the Vale’s defence while any Vale counter always posed a threat in an opening 20 minutes of intense, absorbing rugby which contained gritty passages of play enlivened by a willingness from both camps, to move the ball wide.

In the 26th minute the Vale produced a score that brought the soggy Vale section of the crowd to their feet.

Hall took a quick tap penalty in his own half, Stewart carried on the move before Jordan Dorrington, who had missed the last three games with injury, came hurtling into the line around the half way mark.

He set off on a solo 50 metre weaving run, first across the field, then he stepped back inside before darting to the right again and all being progressed at high speed.

The remaining Wilmslow defenders were twisted in all directions before he put them out of their misery by scuttling over the line for an unconverted try that will live long in the memory.

With seven minutes remaining of the half Wilmslow took full advantage of gaps in Vale’s defence which full back Ben Day profited, collecting a try converted by MacCallum.

Both sets of players sought the sanctuary of the changing rooms at half time and following the restart the Vale were firmly camped in Wilmslow territory.

The expected score came in the 49th minute. Stand-off Dorrington launched a huge kick crossfield, Hall carefully shepherded the ball just inside the field of play, and while defenders hesitated, expecting the ball to go into touch, the right winger deftly swept up the ball for his try which he converted with a massive kick from wide out.

This score had the stand rocking and almost before the foot stomping had died down Hall scored again. He hacked the ball downfield and outpaced the chasers for the try which he converted.

As the game moved into the closing ten minute the Vale’s grip tightened.

Jonty Higgin made a strong surge, the tackling was ferocious as Wilmslow became trapped and just to make sure that there would be no revival Hall kicked a penalty in the 71st minute.

In the 74th minute Sam Wallbank broke off the base of a solid scrum to saunter over for an unconverted try and Hall collected his hat trick when he again kicked the ball low between defenders and was the first on the scene to dive on it and slalom his way over in a cloud of spray for a try in the 77th minute which he converted.