Vale of Lune put behind them a rather staccato performance at Manchester by producing a first half against Carlisle that was creative, sublime, balletic athletic, passionate and played at pace.
In the fifth minute Damon Hall opened the scoring for the league leaders when he skipped down the left wing after full back Jordan Dorrington had made a decisive break; a pattern that was to be repeated throughout the half.
Six minutes later, stand-off Jack Turton ghosted through a huge gap to send centre Ben Dorrington racing away like a bullet train for a try; both tries being converted economically by Hall.
As the first quarter drew to a close Jack Turton manufactured an outrageous banana kick which arced its way into Hall’s flight path who duly zipped over for his second try which he converted.
A sumptuous selection box flipped open in the 23rd minute with a mouth-watering crossfield move but it was Turton’s inside pass that enabled centre Fergus Owens to cross for the bonus point try, converted by Hall.
In the build up to Evan Stewart’s try in the 26th minute Jordan Dorrington made the initial break carried on by Hall who angled a kick in the direction of Stewart who charged away unopposed, with Hall adding the extra two points. Vale’s final score of an utterly riveting half increased their total in the 33rd minute with a try that had their supporters roaring in unison.
The attack began deep in Vale’s half; Jordan Dorrington made the first inroads, Hall, Stewart and Billy Swarbrick ensured the momentum was maintained but it was skipper Sam Wallbank who administered the coup de grace with a try to complete a superb passage of attacking rugby, Hall again converted.
Any Vale hopes of keeping a clean sheet disappeared in the second minute of added time when persistent Carlisle pressure was rewarded with an unconverted try despite a formidable tackle from Wallbank earlier in the assault on Vale’s line.
Vale hit back though and a one-handed, ball juggling feat, from Hall on a crossfield jig was finished off by Andy Powers in the fifth minute of the second half. The hooker was in the right place at the right time as Hall was off target with his conversion for the first time.
Carlisle added their second try, again unconverted, 10 minutes later when hooker and skipper Tom Graham forced his way over following some purposeful direct rugby from his comrades.
A degree of restlessness was beginning to surface on the East Terrace as the Vale appeared to be hypnotised by the digits on the scoreboard but the mutterings were silenced on the hour mark with yet another dandy score.
Turton made a lightning break from deep, Carlisle were forced to retreat and in their haste to regroup they conceded a penalty.
Hall snatched the ball in an instant to take a quick tap and with Olly Jacques on his elbow he threaded an accurate pass to the winger who powerfully barged his way over for an unconverted try.
Vale rang the changes, their cadence began to drop, although when Jacques launched a tempting kick downfield, Jordan Dorrington, who had produced a thought provoking cameo at scrum half when Billy Swarbrick limped off, almost collected the ball in full flight.
Carlisle came more into the game but Vale always appeared to have enough bodies in the right position to protect their line but there were some incidents where the home side’s defenders were forced to scramble in the fading light.