Manchester 47 Vale of Lune 15: Second-half shocker ruins captain's big day
Vale of Lune suffered defeat in the first game against Manchester since their 2017/18 North One West championship season.
In the intervening seasons, Vale had a nightmare experience in North Premier while Manchester regained their status back in North One West after being promoted at the end of the curtailed 2019/20 campaign.
Vale’s league season has been dogged by being unable to field a settled side on a regular basis.
Their fixture at Grove Lane followed the same pattern, with eight who featured against Bowdon in their last outing a fortnight earlier being unavailable.
However, there was a shaft of sunlight because skipper Andy Powers was making his 200th appearance, having first featured against Lymm in February 2010.
Unfortunately, it was not a day to remember for the captain because he saw his side collapse like a pack of cards during a gruesome six minutes in the second half when they conceded 21 points.
Vale’s pack began strongly, earning a penalty, but Alex Briggs’ effort hit an upright and bounced clear.
Manchester were also willing to move the ball round and tested Vale’s defence before they instigated a break which featured Harry Finan and Briggs.
Chris Ramwell completed the move with a flamboyant touchdown and added the conversion.
Then, in the 26th minute, Manchester took a quick penalty with Rick Cross going over, his try converted by Doug Day.
Three minutes later, Ramwell completed the first-half scoring as he touched down wide out after a sturdy Vale scrum had established a solid platform.
The second half started badly for Vale as they were swamped by an early Manchester attack that ended with Matt Burton bundled over the line, Day converting on 43 minutes.
Ramwell then landed a penalty seven minutes later, edging them into a one-point lead at 15-14.
That invigorated Vale, who produced some passages of gutsy rugby but, as the clock ticked past the hour, things began to go horribly wrong for them.
In the 61st minute, a lineout saw Nick Elliot stride through a huge gap to score, Day converting.
Two minutes later, winger Josh Jones weaved his way over for a try, again converted by Day.
Then, straight from the kick-off, a static Vale defence could only stand and stare as Jones raced clear, Day with the extras.
Vale kept a rampaging Manchester at bay until the final five minutes when Harry Lewis touched down, Day converting, followed by a final try from Jones.
On Saturday Vale face Glossop, who sit in fifth place after losing only one of their league fixtures so far.
Vale of Lune: Branford, Powers, O’Heirhir, Tagg, Mount, Fellows, Ayrton, Wallbank, Thomas, Briggs, Fern, Finan, Cross, Bolton, Ramwell. Replacements: Hesketh, Hutchinson, Griffiths.
Thanks for reading. If you value what we do and are able to support us, a digital subscription is just £1 per month for the first two months. Try us today by clicking here