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Dance Alone

Away defeat at Altrincham for Vale of Lune

Ramwell kicks for touch.

MATCH REPORT: Altrincham Kersal 43-Vale of Lune 28

A pleasantly dry and cloudy afternoon in affluent Cheshire awaited the Vale of Lune 1st XV and travelling support for this NW2 return match against old rivals Altrincham Kersal.  

The home side, sitting two league places behind the Vale, began with greater purpose and energy.

The Vale seemed unready for the attack. The first AK try went over the line within a minute. Shaken into action, the Vale found their 'On' switch and asserted their power in the forwards, taking play to the other end of the field. Relentless pressure produced an opportunity for scrum half Billy Swarbrick to score and centre Chris Ramwell to convert for the equaliser. 

The pendulum swung once more as AK came back with vigour to retake the lead with a well worked try, from a lineout ruled by their number seven. The Vale again responded with clever and determined forward play in the Altrincham twenty-two. This time it was full-back Jonny Silverwood who claimed the spoils at the same spot that the first try was earned. 

The pattern continued, one try to each side with the lead changing every time. Only Chris Ramwell's conversions separated the scores. Swarbrick scored again and as half time approached, a showpiece move from the Vale's young threequarters put daylight between them on the scoreboard. Playing in the centre, Sam Peters stormed into the Altrincham twenty-two, committing two defenders to the tackle.

With superb poise and confidence, he slipped the ball out backhanded into the hands of the overlapping winger Hayden Mills to finish the move in the right corner. Even the home support had to applaud that one. The Vale reached the half way stage 17 - 28 to the good. 

Not for the first time this season, the Vale's second half performance remained in cruise mode, whereas their opponent found higher gears. Tinkering with replacements had little effect and Silverwood soldiered on despite a recurrence of a pre-existing ankle sprain. The turning point came when Ramwell tried to intercept a wide Altrincham pass in midfield.

Despite clear effort to catch the ball, it touched his fingertips and went to ground. A contentious aspect of the laws of the game meant that the referee was obliged to deem this a deliberate knock-on. Off to the bench went the Vale's most experienced back and placekicker for ten minutes of inactivity. 

Altrincham made the most of their numerical advantage. They reclaimed the lead and added to it several times. Some of the Vale's frustrations at the situation came out verbally and the referee moved play back ten yards until the indiscipline ceased. It was a spirited, consistent and composed performance by Altrincham, whereas the Vale were distracted by setbacks. A bonus league point was added but the six awarded to the home side lifts them above the Vale in NW2. 

The best Vale player was double try scorer Billy Swarbrick. Also noteworthy was  the energetic winger Hayden Mills.

Next week sees the return of Douglas IOM to Powder House Lane for the fixture which was rescheduled from December.   

Team:    R. Pillow, O. Branford, J. Stevens, G. Oyston, J. Wallbank, A. Powers (C), J. Ayrton, T. Nicholson, B. Swarbrick, O. Jacques, S. Peters, C. Ramwell, H. Mills, J. Silverwood.    Reps:    J. Bonia, M. Bradshaw, A. Bolton. 



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