Vale of Lune and Wilmslow had to be content with a share of the points at the weekend, a draw was more preferable to a defeat for either club but it did little to ease the problems of being stuck at the wrong end of the table at the half way point of the season.
Of course fortunes could change for both clubs, a wining sequence would take away the worry lines which in turn would help in finding a way out of the morass; the gap for the bottom clubs is growing ever wider, January and February’s outcomes could well see the guillotine chopping off a trio of heads long before April 13.
Storm Deirdre was the backdrop to a contest that was heavily influenced by the wind and rain, with the floodlights being switched on shortly after kick off but despite the valiant efforts of players from both sides the game never really allowed the respective talents to emerge.
It was all very stop start, flowing rugby being at a premium but if tries and points might have been rationed the defenders on both sides put in a full shift.
Playing down the slope Wilmslow trapped the Vale deep in their territory but Wolves’ fangs were blunted and in the seventh minute, when very much against the run of play the Vale scored.
Winger Damon Hall intercepted the ball to sprint 70 metres for his try which he converted.
This score boosted Vale and although Wilmslow continued to press, the visitors began to play on the front foot.
Hall directed a beautifully weighted kick pass into the waiting arms of Fergus Owens but the game generally lacked any real sparkle; the weather and the importance to avoid a defeat, impacted on the game’s flow.
Tackling and defensive alignment was of the highest order, pinging the ball around was a lottery for all concerned and with no clear cut chances being created it was pretty dour at times only the sight of a plane taking off from nearby Manchester Airport caused a ripple of excitement.
Just before half-time Hall saw his long range penalty attempt slip below the bar, with second half following very much the pattern of the first as two well organised defences once again took centre stage.
Sam Wallbank broke off the base of a solid scrum to drive into Wilmslow’s 22 and when his surge was halted the ball was moved swiftly crossfield but the home side’s defence policed the move.
As the game moved into the final quarter Chris Ramwell made an exciting break but any attacking options were severely limited and when Wilmslow drew level,it was from a powerful forward drive at scrum time.
At this stage, Vale were a player down when the hard working James Robinson was shown a yellow card. Wilmslow trundled Vale back over their goal line for number eight, Alex Taylor, to drop on the ball which stand-off, Bob MacCallum, converted in the 74th minute.
Vale made determined efforts in the closing minutes to break the deadlock by throwing caution to the wind and moving the ball about.
Billy Swarbrick, Ben and Jordan Dorrinton, Owens and Hall all made inroads but Wilmslow refused to panic and like their opponents stashed away two points that might prove important to their ultimate survival.