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Vale of Lune vs Kirkby Lonsdale local derby ends in a draw

Vale of Lune vs Kirkby Lonsdale. Photos by Tony North.

Match report: Vale of Lune   19 - 19  Kirkby Lonsdale.

Autumn didn't turn up, but Winter did.

The showers and sunshine vied for attention, but the chill wind at Powder House Lane was the dominant weather front.

On the superbly manicured rectangle of vivid green, a dramatic sporting contest unfolded before a packed crowd befitting a local rivalry dating back many years. 

Early exchanges took place in the Kirkby half, with each side testing the mettle of the other.

A Kirkby misdemeanour resulted in an opportunity for Damon Hall to open the Vale's account, but the attempt strayed in the air and fell flat.

Undeterred, the Vale stepped up their output and it fell to Olly Jacques to chip and chase into the Kirkby 22 metre area.

His chip was perfect but he scuffed his follow-up kick. Centre Sam Peters arrived in support to claim the ball to score. Damon Hall converted and the scene was set.

Peters played a crucial role in the Vale's second try, which came from the same playbook. It was finished by Hall in the right corner, who went on to kick the additional points with consummate skill. 

Jacques sustained an injury and left the field, narrowing the Vale's attacking options. Kirkby's young guns showed admirable resolve to come back with gusto. A prolonged series of forward phases resulted in a try which brought the half time score to 14-5 to the home side. 

The second-half saw an initial resurgence of the Vale's early forward dominance. The scrums were almost comically one-sided and the Vale faithful called for the referee to award a penalty try for Kirkby's persistent collapsing of the scrum to impede the Vale progress.

The appeals fell on deaf ears and when the Vale were penalised for the same offence, the crowd were in highly vocal disbelief.

With focus maintained, a powerful front row drive over the line created a space for Jack Ayrton to strike with clinical efficiency. Hall stepped up to convert but his effort misfired. It was to be a turning point in the game.   

Kirkby's second try appeared easy as their backs seemed to stroll though the Vale defence. Frustrations in the Vale ranks spilled over and a multiple dismissal ensued. It was yellow only, but two Vale and one Kirkby player left the field for an enforced sabbatical.

The temporary loss of Harrison and Hall loosened the Vale's grip and gave heart to the trailing visitors. The final surge came from a Kirkby player sprinting from his own half through the Vale lines to plant the ball under the crossbar.

Once converted, Big Les's scoreboard showed level pegging. A last ditch attempt at a penalty kick from Hall fell away and the honours were even at the close. 

A share of the points was not enough to assuage the disappointment of the home crowd. Any sense of achievement was felt solely by Kirkby, who had stared defeat in the face for most of the game.

Top performers on the day were Alex Briggs for the Vale and Sam Nicholson for Kirkby.

Next week, the Vale set out to play another old adversary in Liverpool St Helens. The pathway up the NW2 table remains an uphill one.  


Team.    O. Branford, M. Mount, J. Stevens, M. Field, J. Wallbank, A. Bolton, S. Walton, J. Ayrton, B. Swarbrick. A. Briggs, D. Leighton, C. Ramwell, S. Peters, D. Hall.       Reps:  T. Nicholson, J. Harrison, J. Silverwood. 

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