League leaders were too strong for Vale of Lune

Damon Hall kicks for Vale.
Damon Hall kicks for Vale.

Vale of Lune 5, Hull 41

Vale of Lune played with spirit against top of the table Hull but in the final analysis the visitors, who narrowly missed out on promotion last season, had too much experience.

Vale of Lune played with spirit against top of the table Hull but in the final analysis the visitors, who narrowly missed out on promotion last season, had too much experience.

Hull played at a crisp pace with a high level of technical skills, nothing fancy or of the showboating variety, just an overriding ability to carry out the basics with well grooved efficiency.

In the face of such talented opponents, Vale deserved congratulations for their dogged resistance and fighting spirit. Overall it was one of Vale’s most consistent performances.

One player who picked up the gauntlet was replacement Raun Fourie who made an immediate impact with a thundering run followed by an all embracing tackle when he came on in the second half.

The South African had a quiet game up at Alnwick the previous week, no doubt adjusting to new surroundings, tactics and those around him.

However, he put in a dynamic, dramatic shift against Hull and must be considered to play a future pivotal role in Vale’s aim to claw their way out of the parlous position they find themselves in.

A great deal is going to depend on having the players who helped gain promotion back in their ranks and against Hull there were signs that with a more a balanced side and players in the right positions the Vale’s future does not look quite as bleak as the league table suggests.

In the forwards James Robinson returned to the back row and continues to display a healthy appetite for the game with a tireless, enthusiastic display. There was something of semblance of normality in the composition of threequarters. Jack Turton returned to control the line at stand-off, Fergus Owens rose to the occasion in the centre, Olly Jacques had few opportunities to show his paces on the wing, while Damon Hall at full back, tried his best to find his way through or over Hull’s tight defence. Keeping a squad together on a regular basis has not been easy and in their seven games the Vale have used thirty three players.

Vale’s hopes of springing an early surprise were dashed inside the first minute when following some messy rugby close to their line, Hull’s winger Keane Naylor touched down for an unconverted try.

It had been a blistering opening from Hull that sent the mercury rising but Vale responded with a lively counter attack from their own half inspired by a gallop from Damon Hall.

In the 31st minute, Vale had a mental aberration close to their goal line and in the confusion Hull’s No.10 
Simon Humberstone 
snaffled the ball to roll over the line, his try being converted by Stephen Johnson from wide out on the left.

Hull’s ruthless methodical game plan paid dividends in the 37th minute when winger Keane Naylor touched down for an unconverted try.

The scoreboard can be an unfeeling indicator of the game, Vale certainly did not deserve to be 17 points adrift but a gliding run from Fergus Owens sent Vale in for their half-time oranges with a spring in the step.

Straight from the kick off, Vale found themselves under the cosh. Somehow, Vale’s battlements remained intact after repeated onslaughts until the 54th minute when a crack in their masonry appeared with the departure of prop, Mike Bradshaw to the sin-bin. Hull plunged the dagger in immediately with an unconverted try from Joseph Stafford to top and tail a driving line out in the 56th minute.

Two minutes, later following a searing break from winger Ben Winterburn, Alex Heard was ideally placed to collect a thrilling try which Stephen Johnson converted.

This 12-point burst brought victory ever closer and in the 65th minute, it was effectively game, set and match for Hull when from a solid scrum an unfussy passing movement ended with Ben Winterburn scoring an unconverted try out wide. A rare Vale attack involving Ayrton and Hall caused Hull to concentrate as did a looping kick from Hall that bounced like an off break into touch.

With three minutes remaining a try from Keane Naylor converted by Johnson ensured the spoils were going back to Haworth Park but the last word belonged to Vale when Ayrton forced his way over from a quickly taken tap penalty for an unconverted try.

A meagre five points was little reward for a Vale team which had battled so hard throughout none more so than Ruan Fourie, whose efforts were warmly applauded by the home supporters after what had been gruelling encounter.

Vale are away to Lymm this weekend.