On Air Now

Non Stop Beyond

Midnight - 6:00am

Now Playing

Jason Derulo

In My Head

Vibrant Vale of Lune take the points against Rochdale

Sam Peters and Damon Hall in action at the Vale of Lune. Photo by Tony North.

Rugby Union Match Report: Vale of Lune 22 Rochdale 19

Changeable weather can herald changes in sporting fortunes.

On this cloudy but warm afternoon at Powder House Lane, the Vale set out with the clear intention of putting recent disappointments behind them, and to show the home crowd that their faith had been well placed.

From the off, the Sams; Peters and Wallbank, showed attacking intent.

Probing runs in both the backs and in the pack, set up a fluent move across the three-quarter line to enable centre Dan Helme to power over to open the scoring.

Full back Chris Ramwell, so often the source of points from the kicking tee, had, by his own high standards, a relatively unproductive day.

Rochdale arrived five places higher in the NW2 league, and were never likely to take this lying down.

Their equaliser came swiftly and was converted for the lead.

The early injury to prop Owen Branford enabled the promising James Bonia to enter the fray.

Meanwhile, the Vale's back line showed evident urgency, but the final passes fell short and the points went begging.

On his return to the side, stand-off Damon Hall showed his class by straying out of position on the right wing before blasting past the Rochdale defence.

He reclaimed the lead with a stylish try to lift the spirits of the home fans.

Isaac Quarry and Jack Ayrton made significant territorial gains: the smooth way and the rough way, respectively.

A Vale five-yard scrum, controlled with precision by Ayrton's boots, was topped off by a Billy Swarbrick try to extend the lead.

An electrifying sprint from Quarry, juggling the ball with his fingertips before delivering the perfect pass to winger Jordan Fern to finish, gave the Vale a half-time lead of 22 points to 7.

A spell in the cooler for prop Mike Bradshaw for handling the ball in the ruck gave the Vale a shortfall in front row options.

When centre Olly Jacques intercepted a Rochdale pass but, despite repeated efforts, was unable to gather the bobbling ball, he was deemed by the referee to have committed a deliberate knock-on, resulting in a spell on the ‘naughty step.’

The home supporters vocally disagreed. Down to 13 men, the Vale were unable to repel the Rochdale advantage and a try was conceded and converted by the guests.

When full numbers were restored, the Rochdale confidence prevailed and a try in the left corner brought the visitors back into contention.

A 'sin bin' order for a Rochdale flanker handed the baton back to the home side, who held out with siege mentality throughout a series of tense exchanges in the middle of the park.

A late chance to kick penalty points was missed by Ramwell, but the play was kept in the Rochdale half. The Vale’s lead held out to the final whistle and the result brought a collective sigh of joy and relief, both on and off the field.

As the Vale celebrated the win, over £600 was raised for NW Cancer Research from the attendant supporters and sponsors. 

Man of the match was Joe Wallbank, with a commendable performance from Sam Peters. Next week sees another home fixture, this time against Winnington Park.

On the back of this performance, there is much cause for optimism.

Team:   O. Branford, A. Powers, M. Bradshaw, S. Wallbank, J. Wallbank, S. Peters, T. Nicholson, J. Ayrton, B. Swarbrick, J. Silverwood, J. Fern, D. Helme, O. Jacques, I. Quarry, C. Ramwell.    Reps: J. Bonia. L. Shepherd.

More from Local Sport

Recently Played Songs

  • 1:52am

    In My Head

    Jason Derulo

  • 1:49am

    The Big Decider

    The Zutons
  • 1:46am

    Let Me Blow Ya Mind (feat. Gwen Stefani)