Vale of Lune suffered a 50-8 home defeat to unbeaten Kirkby Lonsdale on Saturday as the hosts suffered their heaviest league defeat at the hands of the Cumbrians since the 2014/15 season, leaving them bottom of the table.
A portent of things to come for the Vale happened in the fifth minute.
Chris Ramwell, a former Kirkby Lonsdale player, had a clearance kick charged down, in the mayhem that followed in the home side’s dead ball area, number eight, Craig Galbraith, snaffled up the ball for an unconverted try.
A promising Vale attack then turned Kirkby’s defence and when the ball was moved inside as the visitors retreated, they were penalised. Jack Turton kicked the resultant penalty in the 12th minute.
Slowly the Vale grew into the game and in the 23rd minute they nudged their way into the lead when Sam Wallbank grappled his way over from a line-out for an unconverted try.
Vale’s honeymoon period continued until the closing stages of the half when Kirkby produced a yard brush to sweep away the confetti and bring the Vale down to earth.
Tom Pickthall easily broke through tackles for his try in the 34th minute, converted by Ryan Terry, and in the sixth minute of added time Ben Walker grabbed the ball to go over from close range, his try again being converted by Terry. Little did they know it, but now the writing was on the wall for the Vale as a Kirkby Lonsdale try confirmed in the sixth minute of the second half confirmed.
A crisply executed move exposed the Vale’s defence as Terry scored and converted his own try.
By now the Vale were firmly tangled in Kirkby’s web, there was to be no escape, the silken threads grew ever tighter as the Vale struggled and squirmed to release themselves but Kirkby had more than the measure of their opponents.
After the hour mark Kirkby leisurely picked through the bones of their victim to pile on the agony.
Four tries from Lewis Horner, Leandro Kwiczor, Harry Ralston and Terry, two of which Terry converted, brought up the half ton to send the Kirkby contingent marching proudly up the Lune Valley to celebrate a momentous victory.
At such an early stage of the season a confident Kirkby Lonsdale have thrown down the gauntlet to the rest of the league – against the Vale they certainly looked capable of stepping up a gear.
For the Vale matters are more pressing in the short term.
Somehow they have got to throw off the cloak that is presently draped around their shoulders, a victory, of any sort, would be most welcome for the patient’s rehabilitation and the restoration of confidence.