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Vale Colts crowned league champions

Vale Colts

The Vale Colts have been crowned champions in the Halbro Colts League.

In a league containing some strong teams from Caldy, Stockport, Macclesfield, Preston and Sandbach, Vale have done exceptionally well to maintain their focus and deliver some very exciting rugby over the course of the season.

Having been beaten only once in the league this season the Colts showed some true grit and determination to win some pulsating games in this league and demonstrate the talent rising up the Vale ranks for the future.

After a productive warm up and confirmation of the game plan in the changing rooms Jake Lloyd as captain brought his players out to a rousing reception from the many Vale supporters that had come down to Manchester to support their team.

It was noticeable that Sedgley had quite a few reserves on the touchline and some big lads to front up in the forwards. Vale were not to take a backward step all game and demonstrated that good technique will always beat brawn in a physical contest.

The game started with both sets of forwards eager to compete and tackle strongly. Some early nerves in the Vale 22 led to the first points to Sedgley after Vale were penalised at the ruck. 3–0 to Sedgley after six minutes.

Vales gears started to mesh in the 15 minute with some good driving play by the Vale forwards got them deep into the oppositions 22 for Kassam-Sharples at scrum half to burrow over for a fine try. The kick was converted by McConnel giving Vale a 7–3 lead.

Kassam- Sharples was at the forefront of the next score when Eccles, Wright, Sutcliffe and Wilkinson drove hard at the Sedgley forwards creating a solid platform for the scrum half to attack from to score his brace in the 21st minute. McConnel kicked the conversion giving Vale a 14-3 lead.

Some fine attacking play by the Vale threequarters resulted in Kassam Sharples scoring his hattrick in the 29th minute which McConnel converted to raise the score to 21–3 in Vales favour.

Unfortunately Vale were dealt a bitter blow when they lost Higginson to a very dubious red card after the referee was “persuaded” by the very vociferous Sedgley crowd that something underhand had occurred. This was a shame as Higginson had bottled up one of the Sedgley threats nicely in the first half.

Half time Vale 21 Sedgley 3

Some stiff words and a raft of Sedgley replacements at half time resulted in the first Sedgley try in the 42nd minute. The conversion was missed.

Down to 14 men for all the second half Vale had to regroup and compete with Sedgley up front. They chose to lose a player from the forwards forcing Sedgley to a seven man scrum and keeping the ball tight with their forwards to reduce the impact of loosing their centre. A bullocking run by Wright who had been a constant threat to Sedgley all afternoon with his physical presence resulted in his try on the 57th minute which was converted by McConnel reasserting the earlier lead.

With a view to keeping Sedgley pinned back in their half McConnel kicked intelligently into the corners and behind the defence to force Sedgley to play in their 22. This resulted in frustration in the Sedgley ranks and a resulting penalty dispatched with ease by McConnel.

A breakdown in midfield and dropped pass led to Sedgley recording their second and last try of the game in the 65th minute

It was Kassam – Sharples who capped off a fine performance with his fourth try of the afternoon in the 68th minute which was unconverted

Vale continued to play possession rugby and run the clock down to finish the game in style and record an excellent victory at Sedgley to bring the title back to Lancaster.

Final Score: Sedgley Park 15 Vale of Lune 36

TEAM: Wilkinson, N. Allen, Hunt, Wright, H. Allen, Pickup, Birkett, Sissons, Sutcliffe, Tresham, Woodend, Eccles, Cullen, Priestly-Payne, Fox, Higginson, Kassam-Sharples, Lloyd (Capt), Morris, Wilson, McConnel, Arundale.

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