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Vale of Lune turn on style in tough conditions to beat Winnington

Vale No 8 Jack Ayrton defies gravity to gain the upper hand in the lineout. Photo by Tony North.

Rugby Union Report: Vale of Lune 40 Winnington Park 19

Dark clouds hung over the ground before kick-off as the home support hoped that their team would not be making heavy weather of the match against Winnington Park. 

The Vale backs looked sharp as the ball was passed with stylish interplay between them. Full back Chris Ramwell, with skills straight from the 'Jason Robinson' playbook, found the gaps in the Winnington line and shot through them repeatedly.

One such attack on the left flank enabled scrum half Billy Swarbrick to take the final pass to score.

Both teams initially struggled with the wet surface. The greasy ball slipped through eager fingers and the resultant scrums proved onerous to keep their shape on the wet ground.

However, the Vale were the more effective of the two packs in this endeavour. In the lineouts, Tim Nicholson asserted his will in the air to claim the lion's share of the available possession.

A high ball into the corner put pressure on the Vale defence, Isaac Quarry leaped to tap the ball back in field, but it fell to a Winnington player who crossed the line to open their account.

Soon, the Vale forwards took the reins with a masterfully controlled set scrum, releasing Jack Aryton to score.

Ramwell's placekicking was not as effective as his open play. He shared the job with Damon Hall who added two penalty kicks. Some showpiece passing at speed from Helme to Hall put the lightening-quick Quarry in for a try to give the Vale a half time lead of 23 points to seven. 

Personnel changes brought off Stevens, Harrison and Fern and brought on Tagg, Bonia and Silverwood. It was the visitors from Northwich, Cheshire wo began the stronger. Their forwards had got their act together to score Both sides missed opportunities to stretch their opponents with overlaps of men crying out for the ball in the wide channels whilst their peers kept it in the middle to no eventual benefit. 

A period without either side adding any points ensued. The stalemate was broken by another electrifying move between the Vale backs. Hall, then Fern then to to Sam Peters who took the ball over to give the Vale breathing space on the scoreboard.

A relentless attack near the Vale line saw captain Andy Powers sent to the bench for 10 minutes for a transgression in the ruck.

As the game was nearing its end, this was to be his final contribution. Winnington struck back to narrow the lead but, as happen so often with a depleted team, the Vale stepped up the energy. A second try for Swarbrick and a 'chip and chase' chance for Quarry to touch down over the line brought the contest to a conclusion with a flourish. 

Man of the match was Sam Peters with a notable shift put in by Billy Swarbrick. The five points gained give the Vale a significant boost in their NW2 league position.

Two wins back-to-back provide a good platform for next week's away fixture at Wilmslow. For the next few months, kick-off times will be earlier at 2.15pm to make the most of the daylight.      

Team:     M. Bradshaw, A. Powers, J. Stevens, J. Harrison, J. Wallbank, S. Peters, J. Ayrton, T. Nicholson, B. Swarbrick, D. Hall, D. Helme, O. Jacques, J. Fern, C. Ramwell, I. Quarry.   Reps: J. Bomia, S. Tagg, J. Silverwood.    


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