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Vale of Lune back on winning form

Vale of Lune were victorious over Bowden. Photo by Tony North.

Match report: Vale of Lune 29 Bowden 19

Late Autumn sunshine lit up the pitch as the Vale faithful hoped that the Vale players could light up the game.

]Having lost to higher placed Bowden earlier in the season, there was a steely determination to level up, along with the need to end the Vale's recent three-game losing streak.  

The Vale came out of the traps with gusto and Bowden struggled to contain them. All of the play was in the visitors' half and each phase of possession gained ground.

A series of missile passes across the left wing put Jordan Fern in the pilot's seat. He burned past the Bowden defence to score a try near the posts. Damon Hall converted and the home crowd applauded in appreciation and relief.

A second try followed soon after. A high lofted kick from Billy Swarbrick, with the setting sun behind it, made it hard for the Bowden players to claim it.

Instead, Vale full back Chris Ramwell gathered the falling ball and took off on a sprint, leaving the Bowden men in his slipstream to score to the right of the posts. 

Bowden's league position would suggest that they were capable of more and they soon showed this to be true. A strong passage of forward play took them into the Vale 22 metre area and it finished with a right winger's try in the corner.

With both teams on Big Les's scoreboard, the supporters had a proper game to enjoy. A third Vale try came from Damon Hall, taking advantage of some flat Bowden defending. The half time score was Vale 22, Bowden 7.

The shadows across the pitch grew longer but Rob Quarry's box of magic tricks was far from spent. Scrum half Ben Walker, came off the bench and instantly showed his class.

He burst through a gap nobody else had seen and hurtled toward the Bowden line. Even his teammates were left behind. He slipped into the stand-off position and demonstrated presented his versatility most emphatically. 

Isaac Quarry and Olly Jacques ruled in the centre, whilst the adaptable Dan Helme took up the number eight position in the forwards.

Mike Bradshaw, Andy Powers and Joe Stevens began in the front row but some tactical rotation ensued, bringing on Owen Branford and Matt Mount. Lineout contests were performed by Jack Ayrton and Tim Nicholson, who left the field injured after sixty minutes. 

The shadows grew longer as the sun was setting. More forward domination took the Vale deep into Bowden territory. Quarry took the ball and feigned to pass it out wide.

Instead, he stamped for the line and despite the concerted efforts of three defenders, Quarry powered over for the Vale's fourth try and a bonus league point. 

Bowden raised their game, claiming two tries in the dying minutes but it was too-little, too-late for them. The final score flattered Bowden, who were second best in every aspect. Vale's man of the match was Dan Helme, but it could have been awarded to any one of the Vale team.  

Next week brings a return fixture, away at Broughton Park, Manchester. Confidence is high and there is much to be optimistic about. 

Team:    M. Bradshaw, A. Powers(c), J. Stevens, J. Harrison, J. Wallbank, T. Nicholson, J. Ayrton, D. Helme, B. Swarbrick, J. Silverwood, J. Fern, I. Quarry, O. Jacques, D. Hall, C. Ramwell.    Reps:  O. Branford, M. Mount, B. Walker. 

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