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Vale of Lune excel in cup tie win over Aspatria

Harry Fellows in action against Aspatria. Photo by Thomas Bradburn.

MATCH REPORT: Vale of Lune 45 Aspatria 19

The league is over, but the Papa John's Cup is just getting started.

It was a chilly and showery afternoon at Powder House Lane, as the Vale welcomed old foes Aspatria from the wild west of Cumbria.

A new competition brought new faces into the Vale lineup. The three first team debutantes were: prop Duncan Ryan, flanker Tom Miller and winger Nathan Allen. A proud moment for them all.

Early passages of play saw some purposeful ball carrying in midfield with Apsatria being denied any possession for long periods. This took play into the away side's half and resulted in a deserved try for Eddie Abdelghafar.

Scoreboard master, Big Les could have ben forgiven for nodding off for the next 25 minutes as neither side reached their intended try line.

On the stroke of half time, Aspartria found a chink in the Vale's defence and claimed the lead with a converted try.

The second half brought some changes of personnel. Ryan, Sutcliffe and Joe Wallbank came on in the pack and Pickup and Allen bolstered the backs. The results were instant.

Concerted forward pressure presented Jack Batty to score to the right of the posts and Damon Hall duly converted to reclaim the lead.

Play shifted as a big Aspatria prop blasted his way through to score and temporarily inhibit the Vale's onslaught. Hall engineered the next strike with a high, cross-field kick into the hands of Hayden Mills who was clean through until a high tackle stopped him on the line. A penalty try was awarded and the Aspatria man went for a breather.

Tries came thick and fast for the rampant Vale. George Oyston clearly enjoyed his triumph, following sterling preparatory work by James Hesketh.

Damon Hall performed a solo chip/chase/dribble & score manoeuvre for his try. The final two touchdowns came from debut man Nathan Allen, with both converted by Hall. The Cumbrians, to their credit, pressed for the line even though the result was already beyond them. They spun a string of passes out to the winger to finish in the left corner.

With the first round of the Papa John's cup under their belt, the Vale's season rolls on to new territory. Round two sees the squad travel up to Morpeth near Newcastle, a club not visited by the Vale since a Trojans side played there in 1992.

Vale's young stars Eddie Abdelghafar and Archie Fowler have been selected for Lancashire U.20s side at Bolton RUFC, and Lancashire Royals have called up: Joe Wallbank, Joe Harrison, Alfie Bolton, Chris Ramwell and Jordan Fern to their squad. Seven senior Vale players at County level is a good reason for celebration.

Team: A. Fowler, J. Hesketh, G. Oyston, A. Foxcroft, H. Fellows, T. Miller, E. Abdelghafar, J. Ayrton (c) , J. Batty, D. Hall, J. Fern, C. Ramwell, A. Bolton, T. Bell.        Reps:   D. Ryan, J. Sutcliffe, K. Pickup, N. Allen, J. Wallbank.

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