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Fourth straight win for Vale of Lune who see off Winnington Park

Josh Sutcliffe

Match Report: Vale of Lune 39 Winnington Park 10.

The Vale had lost to Winnington Park in the autumn, and were keen to seek redress.

On the back of three Vale wins and with key players back from injury, the home support had all the elements of a good show ahead of them. 

The script went awry in the first 10 minutes as all of the action took place in the Vale half.

Winnington Park, who had travelled from Northwich in Cheshire, held all of the aces and they claimed an early lead of 10 points before the Vale got their ducks in a row.

When a WP prop forward was sent to the sin bin, the Vale made the most of their advantage. Once the Vale backs gained the initiative, the fun began in earnest. Two penalty kicks from Damon Hall narrowed the gap and issued a clear message of intent.

Hall, so often the hero of the hour, had another of those games to keep on video for the grandchildren. From the Vale's half, he made a break down the left flank, passed wide to Jordan Fern at pace, who broke another tackle before gifting a pass to scrum half Jack Batty to complete the remaining 25 metres to score.

Within minutes, Hall was setting the furniture alight once more. A 65 metre dash, outstripping the Cheshire men's defences, took him over to score and convert. The half time score was 20 points to 10 to the Vale. 

The second half saw some personnel changes in the pack. Joe Harrison and Joe Wallbank came on together for the first time since their Lancashire Royals call up in December. The Vale's next try came from a cross-field kick into Damon Hall's hands and a pop up pass to Alfie Bolton. After clearing the WP lines, he unselfishly presented the ball for the returning Joe Wallbank to crown his return with a try which delighted the fans. 

The shine was taken off the occasion when Chris Ramwell was stretchered off following a clash of heads in a tackle. When Jordan Fern experienced a rare yellow card for a dubious high tackle, head coach Dan Williams had to put forwards in backs' positions. This gave an opportunity for a Vale first team debut for eighteen year old Josh Sutcliffe, a product of the expansive Vale youth programme. His energy and enthusiasm made him an instant hit with the faithful.

The fourth Vale try came from number eight Sam Wallbank, again down the left flank, and the cherry on the cake came from another crowd-pleaser from centre Eddie Abdelghafar. 

It was a confident, team performance which elevated the Vale to fifth on the NW2 table. Who would have though that back in October? Four wins in a row brings cause to celebrate. Next week holds no first team fixture for the Vale, allowing the team to relax and enjoy TV coverage of the Calcutta Cup. The Vale will be back in action on March 2 away at Whitchurch, Kick off at 3pm. 

Team:   R. Pillow, A. Powers, J. Stevens, G. Oyston, H. Fellows, C. Hall, S. Wallbank, J. Aryton (c), J. Batty, R. Chadwick, J. Fern, E. Abdelghafar, C. Ramwell, A. Bolton,  D. Hall.    Reps: J. Harrison, J. Wallbank, J. Sutcliffe.

 

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