Vale of Lune 24-17 Ilkley
Despite the disappointment surrounding the Kirkby defeat last week, Vale of Lune bounced back in style to record their third North Premier win and claw their way out of the next to bottom slot in the table.
Vale began at a healthy lick, eager to put the events at Underley Park behind them.
A cross kick from stand-off Ben Dorrington, who has played an authoritative role in the number ten shirt in recent games, almost put Damon Hall in the clear, but in the fourth minute, Vale went into the lead.
From a well controlled line out the ball was moved fluently crossfield, with players receiving the ball at speed.
Full back Chris Ramwell ghosted into the line and then accelerated away for a try full of character and diligence, Hall added the conversion.
In the 10th minute Ilkley drew level with a penalty try after Ramwell had halted Ilkley’s flying winger Will Howarth with a high tackle.
Referee Henry had no hesitation in awarding the penalty try and also brandishing a yellow card to Ramwell.
Being a player down, Vale were definitely up against it but their tackling was of the highest order, their discipline remained high and the visitors were unable to take advantage of having an extra player to add to their total.
However, Ilkley did take the lead in the 30th minute when Howarth scorched down his wing for an unconverted try.
Ilkley were boosted by their score but Vale’s defence held firm. Adam Foxcroft left the action with a rib injury, Ramwell was just beaten to the touch down after he had kicked ahead and Hall saw a long penalty attempt drift wide of the posts at the end of a pulsating half of potent rugby.
Vale made the breakthrough in the second half when Hall kicked a 53rd minute penalty goal and it was followed by a jinking, twisting solo run from Ramwell who was in unstoppable counter attacking mode.
On the hour, Vale went into the lead and it was man of the match Ramwell who applied the finishing touch to an artistic cross kick from skipper Fergus Owens, when gathered the ball to accelerate over, Hall again converting.
There was hardly time to draw breath as Hall belted after a kick ahead and was beaten to the touch down and then the No.14 was off target with a 68th minute penalty.
Ilkley drew level in the 73rd minute with an unconverted try from centre Elliot Morgan following a series of missed Vale tackles in the build up, something of a rarity in the context of their game as a whole.
Just when the game appeared to be heading towards Vale’s third draw of the season, Hall sprinkled the game with his own brand of stardust in the 78th minute. Receiving the ball close by, the touchline on the 10m line, he set off like an arrow, the cover came across but he kicked ahead and with his opposite number in close pursuit he grounded the ball first for a dramatic try.
With the adrenalin still pumping, he thrashed the ball between the upright from wide out on the right.
As the clock moved into the red, Jordan Dorrington made one of his gliding breaks and Ilkley went full throttle to produce a score but Vale held their nerve and were able to claim the victory and importantly, the four match points.