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High effort but no win for Vale of Lune against Wilmslow

Vale in action earlier in the season. Photo by Tony North.

Rugby Union Match Report - Wilmslow   20  Vale of Lune  10. 

A week is a long time in 'rugby!'

The Vale's recent winning streak came to an abrupt halt on a rain-soaked pitch away at Wilmslow.

Anyone who was expecting 'fireworks' on the 5th of November would have been disappointed. The fire, flair and force of recent Saturdays seemed to have been subdued in the Cheshire commuter belt.

Head coach Rob Quarry was unable to deploy the services of key players for this NW2 fixture; Damon Hall, Dan Helme and Andy Powers were all unavailable, but Matt Mount, selected at hooker, and captain Harry Fellows both returned from injury.

Henry Chadwick, a member of the coaching team, also started in the centre. 

As the 'fellow in yellow' blew his whistle to begin the game, the Vale were the sharpest out of the traps. Early Vale pressure kept the home side pinned in their own 22 metre area.

Props Joe Stevens and Mike Bradshaw were imperious in the rucks, scrums and mauls. Relentless as it was, the pressure was repeatedly absorbed by Wilmslow and it took nearly 20 minutes to register three points from a Chris Ramwell penalty kick.

Wilmslow woke up and equalised soon after as they managed to overturn territorial advantage. The Vale defensive line was drawn infield to allow an overlap for Wilmslow, whose left winger ran in a try to finish under the posts.

The half-time score was 10 points to three. 

The grim spectre of injury made its presence felt once again. Both Fellows and Mount limped off early. Louis Evans and James Bonia came on and with some tweaking and adapting, the forwards kept their shape.

The fiery Harrison Dodge brought his unparalleled commitment to the left wing position. Evans made his presence felt with a courageous sprint and tackle to prevent a certain try for the home side. It was a moment indicative of the Vale's frustrations: chasing back in defence rather than forward in attack. 

In a twist which took everyone surprise, a Wilmslow player found himself in possession and unguarded 30 yards from the line. He took his chance, got his head down, and claimed Wilmslow's second try.

The clouds thickened and the cherry and white of the Vale and the pale blue of Wilmslow became harder to identify as the clouds gathered to diminish the light. 

The Vale's effort level never faltered, despite the energy-sapping gloom of the elements. Half-backs Jonny Silverwood and Billy Swarbrick tried new methods to threaten the Wilmslow line.

High cross-field kicks to the corners gave hope of a score, but all such initiatives fell away without numerical reward. In the dying moments, the prop, 'Big Mike' Bradshaw capped off a strong performance to score the Vale's only try, which Ramwell converted. 

Next week’s match is at Powder House Lane against Altrincham Kersal, kick-off at 2.15pm.

Team: M. Bradshaw, M. Mount, J. Stevens, H. Fellows, J. Wallbank, T. Nicholson, S. Wallbank, J. Ayrton, B. Swarbrick, J. Silverwood, J. Fern, H. Chadwick, O. Jacques, S. Peters, C. Ramwell.    Reps: J. Bonia, L. Evans, H. Dodge.

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