SLIDESHOW: Vale of Lune 22-22 Wigton

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Vale of Lune set a club record as they drew for the fourth time this season against Wigton at Powderhouse Lane on Saturday.

An epic encounter built to a tense finale with the stalemate just about a fair result as visiting winger Tom Gardner converted a late penalty to level things up.

Head on charge for Vale's Rob Ward. Picture: Tony North

Head on charge for Vale's Rob Ward. Picture: Tony North

Judged by any standards this was an enterprising tactical contest with Vale constantly seeking to move the ball around and in doing so not allowing Wigton to indulge in their particular strength which was a highly efficient rolling maul.

In the end it would be fair to say that both sets of battle plans brought their own rewards, the hosts scoring three tries from their free-running threequarters while two of Wigton’s tries had the forwards’ hallmarks stamped all over them but their third broke the mould and was a little gem.

On a heavy pitch the Vale were out of the traps first.

James Curran bolted down the wing but his purposeful dash was halted abruptly and he was led off the be replaced on the left wing by Rob Ward.

Scott Foy breaks with the ball.

Scott Foy breaks with the ball.

Shortly after Vale’s reshuffle the league’s leading try scorer, Nick Royle sliced his way through like a hot knife through butter from 40 metres out for his try which Jack Turton converted after four minutes.

Vale might have gone further ahead five minutes later when stand off Turton broke through but he opted to pass inside rather than trusting his pace to outrun a lone defender.

After their initial set back Wigton’s forwards began to generate a lively head of steam but Vale’s resilience was rewarded in the 18th minute when Royle scored his 29th league try following a series of flicked passes down the line after the Vale eight has sent their opposite numbers scrambling backwards.

Royle chipped ahead, and not for the first time this season won the race for the touchdown for an unconverted try.

Vale could not afford to rest on their laurels as Wigton started to increase the pressure and the Cumbrians scored an unconverted try in the 35th minute.

Initially the Vale had repelled a dangerous five-metre scrum, a brace of line outs and a searing run from winger Gardner but they were unable to halt a maul that crabbed its way inexorably towards their goal line with Lindsay Walker credited with the try.

Vale hit back early in the second half however, Turton chipping into space to allow skipper Jonty Higgin to collect the ball at full pelt to touchdown between the posts, Turton adding the conversion.

Ben Charnley was yellow carded for the hosts in the 53rd minute as Wigton stuck to their game plan, Andrew Brown scoring a try converted by Gardner.

And just after the hour mark the Cumbrians were level. Instead of churning their way forward the ball was released and moved wide, stand off Dave Hanbury kicked towards Gardner’s patch of turf, the winger pouched the ball safely to touch down in the corner before adding the conversion.

Vale got their noses in front with a Turton penalty in the 67th minute but the home side were not out of the woods yet.

With time ticking down Wigton were awarded a penalty. Gardner showed no signs of nerves as he carefully arranged the kicking tee before sending the ball between the uprights to complete the scoring and end a pulsating contest.

Vale of Lune: N Royle, A Macluskie, O Carter, J Higgin (Capt), J Curran, J Turton, O Dobson, J Hesketh, P Berry, A Cowey, A Foxcroft, G Tudor, B Charnley, A Baines, S Foy. Replacements used; R Ward, R Pillow, P McLaren-Dorrington.