Vale 24-5 Widnes

Jack Turton dives over to score.
Jack Turton dives over to score.

The quagmire eventually proved too much for referee Hiney who called both captains together in the 73rd minute to say that in the interests of safety he proposed to abandon the game because he could not differentiate between the Vale of Lune and Widnes players.

There was little to gained when friend and foe became undistinguishable, frustration levels began to rise as did a number of niggardly incidents, as the inhabitants of a inhospitable primeval swamp dragged themselves from one squelching morass to another.

Vale opened the scoring in the second minute when Fergus Owens skated over the treacly surface to isolate the Widnes defenders before timing a perfect pass to winger Tom Crookall who produced a powerful run for an unconverted try wide out on the left.

Four minutes stand off Jack Turton delicately floated a kick into Vale’s legendary deep, dead ball area where Owens was the first to react and grounded the ball, Ben Dorrington added the conversion.

In the 14th minute the ball was lofted over the heads of a transfixed, hesitant defence and before Vale’s players could react winger Anthony Leadbetter was touching down for an unconverted try.

As the mid way point approached the Vale literally pulled up their socks, the pack regained control and they played a large part in Vale’s next try.

A 20 metre surge churned up the ground as the forwards concertinaed Widnes close to their line and when the ball was flicked out to the right Owens darted over for an unconverted try in the 27th minute as Vale went into half time 12 points to the good.

Four minutes into the second half the Vale collected their try bonus point. The forwards dug the ball out of the earth for Turton to score a deserved try converted by Dorrington.

This time an early score did not seduce the Vale into taking their foot off the accelerator, they closed ranks as Widnes searched in vain for any weaknesses.

Player identification became something of a lottery although the referee did spot a misdemeanour by Tom Crookall which earned the winger a yellow. Widnes were unable to exploit the situation as the game became fragmented and rather tetchy at times.

Vale had an opportunity to increase their score, but with a three man overlap Dorrington punted the ball ahead, in mitigation he might not have recognised them as either friend or foe but this did not stop him collecting an award at the opposite end of the man of the match spectrum.