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Vale of Lune suffer away defeat at Broughton

The Vale went down to defeat at the hands of Broughton Park

Match Report: Broughton Park 21 Vale of Lune 12

A changed Vale of Lune side set off in the drizzle to South Manchester, aware that they faced a team sitting bottom of the NW2 league.

Selection adjustments were imposed due to the unavailability of key players; Damon Hall, Olly Jacques and Billy Swarbrick. The adaptable Alfie Bolton moved into the centre and Jacob Thomas came in at scrum half.

Front row utility man Owen Branford made his 50th appearance for the Vale first team, whilst James Bonia and Sam Peters have, this week, been selected for Lancashire Under 20s. 

The home side, playing in black and white, showed the initial urgency. Their speedy full-back cut through the Vale line to score a try to the right of the posts.

This served as a wake-up call for the Vale.

Sharp passing and committed forward support took the ball into the hands of Chris Ramwell. He found a gap and sprinted through it for 30 metres. The defenders could not keep pace, but Alfie Bolton had the gears to be there in support. He powered over the line to open the Vale's account.  

A second row adjustment brought off Joe Harrison and on came Sam Lester for his first Vale appearance of the season. The scrums remained strong and the lineouts went to hand.

Vale laid siege to the Broughton Park try line in a passage of forward play which battered the defences over and over. The reward came with a second Alfie Bolton try, at the same spot as his first. At half time, the Vale were ahead by 12-7.

Broughton Park's strength lay in the electric pace of their full back. Vale's defending allowed them sufficient space to exploit this asset. A 50 metre dash through the Vale line produced the equaliser.

The conversion hung tantalisingly in the air before striking the right post and bouncing out.

With the scores level, it came down to brinkmanship. In this battle of two well-matches teams, who would find the other's Achilles heel?

The difference manifest itself in the concession of midfield penalties and the resultant kicking for goal. 

As stand-off Jonny Silverwood limped off, both packs worked hard to cancel each other out in loose play. The difference between them was the Vale's handling errors in vulnerable positions.

A penalty kick by the Broughton Park No. 13, 25 metres from the Vale posts went over for the lead. This happened three times, from exactly the same place and three points were awarded for each.

With the victory ebbing away, the Vale continued to chase consolation bonus points, but they were denied by dogged defending and ultimately left Manchester empty handed. 

The pattern continues, The Vale wins come in twos and threes, as do the losses. The inevitable result is a mid-table place.

The NW2 league is finely balanced and, whilst there is no lack of effort from the Vale, the absence of five influential backs, tells its own tale.

Notable performances came from double try scorer Alfie Bolton and the 'harpoon' distribution of Jacob Thomas. The home side nominated Chris Ramwell as Vale's top player on the day. 

Next week, Wilmslow,  are due for the Vale's first home match for a month. In the meantime, head coach Rob Quarry has his work cut out to plug the gaps and stem the flow of minor, yet costly, errors. 


Team:    M. Bradshaw, O. Branford, J. Stevens, J. Harrison, H. Fellows, A. Powers, J. Ayrton, L. Evans, J. Thomas, J. Silverwood, J. Fern, C. Ramwell, L. Evans, S. Peters, H. Chadwick.   Reps:   R. Pillow, J. Bonia, S. Lester. 



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