Vale A 38-31 Sandbach 2nds
It was a frustrating overall performance from the Vale of Lune in what turned out to be an exciting contest at The Lane as the hosts held their nerve to post a victory that keeps them in the top half of the table.
Vale’s early success were built around a solid mobile resourceful pack with lock Ryan Needham opening their scoring with a powerful burst, his try being converted by Neil Walker in the eighth minute.
Harry Bartle scored two tries in the 15th and 25th minutes with Jamie Antcliffe crossing the whitewash in the 20th minute, Walker converted two.
But the Vale’s aspirations received a set back when scrum half Ollie Dobson, who has hit a rich vein of form recently, was forced to leave the action with a serious hand injury.
While the Vale reshuffled their resources Sandbach took advantage of some poor alignment to collect their first points with a converted try in the 29th minute.
Vale appeared to struggle following Dobson’s departure and there was some noticeable hesitancy when Sandbach’s stand off intercepted the ball to canter away for a try with six minutes remaining.
Stability returned to the Vale’s game when Scott Foy, who had been moved into the centre, scored a try, converted by Walker to ensure the home side retained the advantage going into second 40.
However, Sandbach made light of their 21-point deficiency and a converted try in the 52nd minute from the visitors followed a passage of rugby where a Sandbach attack was not closed down quickly enough in its early stages.
When a Walker penalty kick rebounded off an upright Tom Smith was the first to react when he gathered the ball for an intuitive try,
Walker’s conversion again rebounded into the field of play in the 64th minute.
The uprights also played their part in Sandbach’s try in the 71st minute with the conversion again homing in the post but ricocheting back to deny the kicker the extras.
Two minutes later a Sandbach try was converted leaving the outcome in the balance and forcing the Vale to ride out a few jittery moments before the final whistle.