Vale 23-10 Leigh

Vale's Ben Dorrington.
Vale's Ben Dorrington.

A grey, windy, wet afternoon girdled The Lane as Vale beat struggling Leigh on Saturday in what was a must-win for the home team.

Leigh had first use of the elements and before the heavens opened both sides popped the ball around without crossing the gain line.

In the 13th minute Ben Dorrington broke the deadlock with a well struck penalty goal after a rare visit deep into Leigh territory.

Vale found it difficult to make any headway out of their own half, there were some unconvincing isolated attacks, but Leigh made most of the running and in the 20th minute their efforts were rewarded.

Vale made heavy weather of clearing a bouncing ball close to their goal line. In a Keystone Cops style moment players obstructed each other, some individuals left it to others to clear the danger and while all the dithering took place winger Kieron Duffy put everyone out of their misery by snaffling up the ball and touching it down for an unconverted try.

Eight minutes into the second half the Vale forwards clamped the ball deep in their cavern and drove for the line.

As Leigh struggled to take the heat out of the maul, the Vale kept churning away prior to number eight Sam Wallbank wrestling the ball to ground for his try, which was converted by Dorrington.

Two minutes later Dorrington increased his side’s lead with a penalty goal following another forward surge.

In the 63rd minute the Vale further advanced their cause with another forward orientated score. From a five metre scrum the Vale eight had their caterpillar tracks churning menacingly metrically towards the line to set up Wallbank for his second perfectly executed try, again Dorrington added the extras.

Leigh hit back immediately to catch the Vale in a slightly relaxed state. The visitors moved the ball to the right and while the Vale tried to realign space was created for winger Olly Shepherd to score an unconverted try wide out.

This acted as a wake-up call for the home side who cleared their heads and buckled down to the task in hand, not letting victory slip from their grasp in the closing 15 minutes.

For the Vale an imminent danger passed and in the 77th minute Dorrington kicked a penalty to put not only the belt but a pair of braces on the first set of back-to-back victories since February.

*There was real cause for celebrations in Vale’s clubhouse after the game because all their three senior sides in action had won.

It was an important day for the second team because they won their first Premier League of the season, recording a 19-5 victory at home against Stockport 2.

Over at Bolton the fourths won 41-5 against the hosts’ fourth team.

Meanwhile Vale’s third team were without a game because of a waterlogged pitch at The Lane.