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Vale of Lune suffer heavy defeat at home

Match Report: Vale of Lune 13 - Anselmians 51

The Vale of Lune annual Past Players Day brought many old faces back to the 'mother ship,' for an afternoon of fun and reminiscing. It also produced the biggest crowd of the season.

Thin cloud, no rain nor wind, made for ideal rugby conditions. Unfortunately, Vale Head Coach Rob Quarry had a tough job in selection, due to many key players being unavailable. To lose: Stevens, Bradshaw, Aryton, Nicholson, Powers and Hall from last week's teamsheet, must have been a headache. Nevertheless, the young players who stepped up all put in commendable performances. 

It was the Merseysiders who took the early initiative. Camped in the Vale's half of the pitch, they exerted forward superiority to feed their right winger, who crossed the line by the corner flag. Vale responded swiftly. Full back Ben Walker sliced open the Anselmians' defence like a sword through silk. With the action firmly in the visitors' half, a five metre scrum gave the possession and position for Chris Ramwell to level the scores with a well-finished try. 

Anselmians showed that they were not at the top of the NW2 league for nothing. Their well-drilled pack stretched the Vale's less experienced players and created a second try in the left corner. Once again, the Vale were spurred into attack.

Acting captain Olly Jacques burst through the back line and, having appeared to knock the ball on in the tackle, the referee deemed it to have come off an Alselmian player, so the move continued into the hands of second row Joe Wallbank.

In his 50th game for the Vale 1st XV, he touched down to the right of the posts. Anselmians surged once more and regained a slender lead. As none of the conversion attempts were on target, the half time tally was 10 points to15 and all possibilities were open. 

The league leaders came out like the favourites they undoubtedly were. Their big forwards applying weight and skill whilst reaching the breakdowns in numbers, made the difference. Hooker Owen Branford left the field with a concussion, adding to the the Vale's problems.

The home side had their moments of excitement too. The energetic Joe Harrison powered the Vale into promising positions and centre Chris Ramwell scored with a penalty kick.

Alfie Bolton made a break into the Anselmians' half, but he was too far ahead of his support for the move to gain any points. Otherwise, the second half belonged to Anselmians. The Vale could do no more than 'put the wagons in a circle' and defend. A total of nine tries to the Vale's two told the story, and their ability to raise their game in the last quarter showed their class. 

The Vale were courageous and persistent despite setbacks, but the form book proved accurate. Prop forward Ross Pillow was nominated as Vale's man of the match. He was presented with bottle by the matriarch of the Vale of Lune, Pat Atkinson. 

Next week sees an almost reverse fixture as the the Vale travel to the Wirral, albeit to Birkenhead Park. Kick off at 3pm. 

Team:    J. Bonia, O, Branford, R. Pillow, J. Harrison, J. Wallbank, A. Bolton, S, Peters, L. Evans, J. Thomas,  J. Fern, C. Ramwell, O. Jacques, H. Dodge, B. Walker. 

Reps:   G. Oyston, J. Silverwood. 


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