Match report: Liverpool St Helens 24 - Vale of Lune 25
In their first meeting since the 2014/5 season Liverpool/St.Helens and the Vale featured in a game of high drama which kept supporters of both sides on tenterhooks until the final whistle.
After an initial period of aerial jousting the L.S.H. fly half released a cross field kick which but for the small in goal area would have opened the home side's account.
For the Vale, centre Eddie Abdelghafar made an incisive uphill break before passing to fellow centre Chris Ramwell for Vale's opening try converted by Damon Hall.
From a similar position, after a strong Vale scrummage the ball was transferred to the speeding Damon Hall who chipped ahead over the opposition defence, collected and then scampered over for his first try before adding the extras.
Even with a 14-0 lead after 25 minutes, the Vale were not having it all their own way with several attempts on the home side's line being thwarted by a resolute defence.
The L.S.H. first points came from their left winger scoring a 30 metre converted try. This was followed by a period of constant pressure in the Vale 22 with Harry Fellows being yellow carded after the referee adjudged multiple infringements close to the Vale line.
Matt Mount took up the hooking position while Billy Swarbrick put up a high relieving kick and Damon Hall, after a 50 metre dash, scored his second try of the afternoon bringing up a half time score of 7-19 in the Vale's favour.
The second half saw a rejuvenated home side putting the Vale under all sorts of pressure with only determined defence by the whole Vale side, with man-of-the-match Joe Wallbank to the fore, keeping the opposition at bay. Alex Briggs and Sam Walton entered the fray shortly followed by Damon Hall kicking a penalty.
Taking advantage of Chris Ramwell's enforced 10 minute breather for a high tackle the L.S.H. backs ran in two more tries with one converted. Damon Hall kicked a second Vale penalty while in the last two minutes of the game L.S.H scored an unconverted try much to the relief of the Vale's travelling faithful.
Consolation to L.S.H. came in the form of two bonus points lifting them from the bottom of the division while for the Vale a third consecutive win sees them rise to seventh position, two places below Burnage, next week's visitors to Powderhouse Lane.
Team: Oyston, Davenport, Fowler, Fellows, Harrison, Wallbank J, Ayrton (C), Hall C, Swarbrick, Silverwood, Ramwell, Abdelghafar, Fern, Mitton, Hall D.
Reps: Mount, Walton, Briggs.
Hall: Tries 2, Cons.2, Pens.2.
Ramwell: Try 1.