Depleted Vale just lose out to Leek

Vale's Billy Swarbrick clears the ball. Picture: Tony North
Vale's Billy Swarbrick clears the ball. Picture: Tony North

Vale of Lune made the 200 mile round trip for their first ever visit to Leek RUFC on Saturday with a squad minus a number of their regulars due to weddings, holidays, cricket and work commitments.

However, in the outing against Leek valuable information was gathered for the selectors to ponder over following the first competitive action for the majority of the participating players since the April.

The Vale squad was comprised of players from several of the club’s teams but after they had shaken the journey out of their muscles they eased their way into the game after trailing 11-5 at half time, prop Aiden Yates scoring their try.

Although Vale conceded an early try in the second half they came roaring back into contention with a well executed, pacy attack that ended with centre Scott Manning slicing through the home side’s defence for a try converted by stand-off Harry Finan.

In the final quarter Leek added to their total with a penalty goal before the Vale, whose pack were growing in strength and confidence the longer the game progressed, tied the hosts in close to their goal line which allowed the lock Harry Vause to pick up and drive over for an unconverted try.

Scrum half Billy Swarbrick was named man of the match and the No.9 will be called on to play a pivotal role in the coming weeks as a rebuilding process takes place in the back division but on the evidence against Leek, the forwards will only require some fine tuning.

Overall it was a useful work out, plenty for coach Joel Unsworth to feel pleased about and even though the squad was drawn from all quarters, heads never went down and spirits remained high in an encounter where teamwork and commitment increased as the minutes ticked by.

l Vale of Lune open their North One West season at Powderhouse Lane on Saturday against last season’s champions of North Lancashire/Cheshire One, Altrincham Kersal, kick off 3pm. On the clubs the annual Ladies Day, couture will be much in evidence, the combatants out on the immaculately manicured main arena, will add their own brand of fire and brimstone, while the Black Knights Parachute Display Team will literally be dropping in around 5pm, weather permitting. There will be free entry for ladies but if anyone wishes to partake of the two course pre match lunch, contact Abbie or Sammie at the Vale on 01524 64029, to reserve a place.