Birkenhead Park 52-14 Vale

Sam Wallbank makes a break.
Sam Wallbank makes a break.

Vale of Lune suffered their heaviest league defeat since April 2010 at unbeaten North One West leaders Birkenhead Park on Saturday.

The loss means that the Vale have now suffered four straight defeats.

Within a minute Birkenhead had the lights on the electronic scoreboard flashing with a try that was fashioned from a blueprint that was to become all too familiar to a beleaguered Vale side.

Wing forward Dave Ibbotson went over after nifty work by his comrades in arms.

Full back Dave Hall put over the conversion as he did for a try from flanker Rob Doolan in the fifth minute after the forwards had cranked up the volume inside Vale’s twenty two.

There was no hiding place for the Vale and in the 12th minute a forward drive resulted in another try for Doolan, converted by Hall.

In the 26th minute the try bonus standard was reached when winger Matt Walls swept over after he had chased down an accurate cross kick, Hall’s conversion hit an upright but failed to go over.

There was still plenty of time remaining for Park to grab two more tries.

Left wing Dave Morgan dived over between the uprights in the 31st minute and six minutes later yet another score originated at a line out to provide Ibbotson with his second try, both converted by Hall to end a one sided 

Although Park made all the early running at the start of the second half the Vale took the sting out their attacks and started to put together some promising moves.

In the 51st minute their efforts were rewarded with a try after full back Chris Weeks glided into Park territory from his own half, centre Ian Bird crashed through tackles, the ball was recycled, space was created for Jack Aryton to score, Charlie Lomas put over the conversion.

It was too early to raise any glasses because three minutes later Park’s forwards rumbled uncompromisingly towards Vale’s line, lock forward, Jack Ashcroft completed a rewarding afternoon in the boiler room with a try converted by Hall.

The second half developed into a more evenly matched joust than the first, at least as far as the Vale were concerned, and in the 62nd minute they doubled their score.

Paradoxically the Vale took a leaf out Park’s technical manual by instigating a forward drive that was concluded by skipper Sam Wallbank, whose head never dropped in a testing game, with a much deserved try converted by Lomas.

However, Park’s eight naturally had the last shout when they provided the perfect platform for replacement Elliott Madgin to scoot over on the blind side for an unconverted try.

For the Vale there is plenty of fat to chew over before they entertain Wilmslow on Saturday, they can find some brief consolation from the fact they ‘won’ the second half 14-12, plus Andy Powers played his first game since picking up an injury in November 2013 and that their other injured players and those who were unavailable over the holiday period, are now back in the frame because some important fixtures are looming, both at The Lane and further afield.