Vale to face old rivals on opening day

Vale of Lune's Ben Charnley in action against Kirkby Lonsdale last year.
Vale of Lune's Ben Charnley in action against Kirkby Lonsdale last year.

The release of the fixtures for the coming season is always an eagerly awaited event in any sport and the Vale of Lune is no different.

From a distance North One West appears a distinctly demanding prospect and perhaps potentially the strongest it has been for many seasons in particular now that Birkenhead Park, Broughton Park, Warrington, Kendal and Wigton are thrown into the mix.

All the newcomers are no strangers to the Vale and they begin their season with fixtures against the two sides promoted from South Lancashire/Cheshire One.

On the opening Saturday they travel to Hough End to take on long-standing rivals Broughton Park who won their play-off game against Eccles.

The following week they entertain champions of South Lancashire/Cheshire One, Warrington.

A fixture that has grabbed the imagination will be the home game on October 12 against Kendal who were relegated from National League Three North last season.

This will be the first meeting at league level between the two adversaries since March 1992 when the Vale lost at home 12-6 in Division Four North fixture in a season where they were relegated.

Another derby game to catch the eye will take place at Powder House Lane at the end of October when the Vale and Kirkby Lonsdale will cross swords again after honours were shared last season.

Vale will begin October with a visit to Wigton who were runaway undefeated winners of North Lancashire/Cumbria.

Birkenhead Park will host the Vale at the end of October, the last time these two clubs encountered each other at league level was in April 2005 when the Vale lost at home 26-23 in a North One fixture which ended their tenure in the league.

The opening two months of the season contain fixtures which are certain to keep players and supporters on their toes and fully focussed while in the long-term hopefully there will be a repeat of last season’s excitement in the shape of some brilliant try-scoring extravaganzas and the tensions and heartaches surrounding the Vale’s push for promotion.