Vale of Lune 22-29 Kirkby Lonsdale
In the second meeting of the season following the abandonment of the fixture played in September, Kirkby Lonsdale claimed the bragging rights with a try bonus victory over Vale of Lune.
Vale shot away to the perfect start with a try in the fourth minute, from their record breaking try and points scorer from last season, Damon Hall.
A bullet pass from scrum half Billy Swarbrick set the move in motion after Sam Wallbank had made a powerful run, followed by a slick transfer of the ball and although Hall had to reach heavenwards to secure the ball he was soon in full flight for his try which he converted.
Kirkby recovered from this initial shock and their forwards James Thompson, Stu Storey, Dave Maka and Alex Rogers were very much at the centre of events as Vale were driven back into their own territory.
During the week, Vale had a session of impact training led by former captain Ian Bird and this was severely tested as Kirkby mounted a series of ferocious attacks.
Eventually, Kirkby’s persistence brought a dividend in the shape of a scuttling try from Dave Barton down the right hand side after the lessons learned in the week had monetarily deserted the Vale, Tom Pickthall added the conversion in the 18th minute.
Vale fell behind three minutes later when winger Harry Huddleston intercepted a pass from a distraught Andy Powers to race away on a green carpet, Pickthall clipped over the conversion.
Any thoughts that Kirkby were firmly in the driving seat and taking the game away from the Vale were dealt a blow in the 29th minute when Vale’s backs cut loose.
Full back Jordan Dorrington embarked on a majestic run, corkscrewing his way crossfield to score on the right, Hall with a heavily bandaged right leg put over the conversion. An entertaining half ended with Pickthall kicking a 30 metre straight penalty goal in the 34th minute.
In the closing minutes, Vale pinned Kirkby in their 22 and when the visitors were penalised, Vale opted to punt the ball into touch in attempt to gain maximum points.
Their efforts came to naught and when early in the second half Hall lashed over a 40m penalty goal the debate was intensified as to why Vale had declined a kick at goal in a rush for glory towards the end of the half.
Pickthall was off target with a 48th minute penalty but Vale almost came to grief as they lazily tried to clear the ball.
A driving run from Alex Rogers had Vale retreating and still on the back foot they were unable to deal with an orthodox move from a scrum 15m from their line in centre field.
From the base of the scrum the ball was flicked out to the unmarked Huddleston, who strolled between the uprights for his second, Pickthall nonchantly put over the conversion in the 50th minute.
Four minutes later some indifferent Vale tackling created space for Kirkby down the right.
Pickthall streaked away for an unconverted try but on the hour mark Will Hunt intercepted a pass to bound away for an unconverted try.
Suddenly Vale had a new target to aim for. Harry Fellows made a powerful break but his move was well policed and as the contest moved into the closing stages it was punctuated with attacks and counter attacks.
Vale’s scrum came more and more into the game.
A powerful scrum earned a penalty and from the line out they opted for scrum when Kirkby were penalised but the momentum was lost in a sequence of misdirected passes as the Cumbrians cantered over the line to inflict their sixth consecutive defeat on the Vale.