NOT YET BESPOKE, BUT CLOTH BEING CUT.
By Reg Robinson
Everything unraveled at Blaydon but most of the stitches held against Wilmslow.
1 Mike Bradshaw Phil Sutcliffe
2 Andy Powers Bay Travel
3 Ross Pillow Available
4 Harry Fellows Carpet and Floorcare
5 Dan Rainford Available
6 James Robinson SJB Tiling Ltd
7 Joe Wallbank Allan Entwistle
8 Jack Ayrton George Dickson
9 Billy Swarbrick The Alies
10 Harry Finan Jilly Beads
11 Chris Ramwell Online Systems
12 Will Hunt Ron Higgin
13 Jonty Higgin AJB Electrical
14 Olly Jacques Duncan Hall Financial Services
15 Jordan Dorrington Martin Woodhouse
16 Steve Tagg Mathews Benjamin/ Fine and Country
17 Luke Bell Mathews Benjamin/Fine and Country.
18 Callum Kyle Mathews Benjamin/Fine and Country
There were signs in the Vale of Lune’s opening home game of the season that they had put the horror show that they had experienced at Blaydon behind them. A number of players from last season returned to the fold but Coach Dan Williams will be conscious that the error count was too high against a composed Wilmslow side that only began to wobble in the final quarter.
The heavy rain which fell during the morning and prior to kick off threatened to put dampener on the club’s well attended Ladies Day. Armani, Chanel No 5 and Prosecco, tight dresses, tight bubbles all combined in a cavalcade of couture, but what awaited the teams on Swazzer’s patch, another vision of loveliness?
Would the Vale be able to match the colours, style and class in the clubhouse? True the hosts did produce some shimmering moments but they were never on the catwalk long enough to strut their stuff and there was a feeling abroad that there was still some talent still on the coat hangers in the wardrobe.
Vale had been whirled around in the tumble drier at Blaydon while Wilmslow had also experienced a defeat in their opening game but their loss at home to Kirkby Lonsdale was less than traumatic. Spirits were therefore lifted for the Vale when full back Jordan Dorrington romped away in the first minute try on a fifty metre, dancing solo run for a stunning try converted by Will Hunt.
Wilmslow Wolves, who like the Vale were missing a number of players who had helped secure their promotion, sharpened their fangs and launched a series of snarling attacks that had the Vale retreating. Vale failed to clear the danger of a bobbling loose ball close to their line and before anybody could react flanker Adam Hewitt wriggled his way over at ground level by the post protector, skipper Bob MacCallum added the conversion in the seventh minute.
After a frantic opening both sides struggled to build a platform although Wilmslow posed the biggest threat to the Vale whose attempts at imposing themselves were negated by some sloppy passing and rather predictable angles of attack that lacked the necessary wow factor to discomfort the Cheshire side.
Wilmslow edged their noses in front with a thirty fourth minute penalty goal from Bob MacCallum but this score provoked an instant response from the Vale, who suddenly started to cut loose. Jordan Dorrinton made a languid break from deep, James Robinson, who played throughout with increasing confidence, linked with Jonty Higgin in Vale’s most threatening move of the half.
Vale began the second half in the same frame of mind but Wilmslow’s defensive toolbox proved more than equal to the task of defending their line. A well coordinated forward drive from the Wilmslow eight caused a major problem for the Vale who conceded a penalty which Bob MacCallum duly slotted over in the fifty second minute.
Four minutes later the game began slipping away from the home side when centre Ethan Harding thundered his way through some unconvincing tackles for a try, converted by Bob MacCallum.
Too their credit the Vale responded with a series of attacks in the final quarter but they were undone in the sixty sixth minute when Bob MacCallum intercepted a telegraphed pass to dash eighty metres for a try with only referee Thomas Hurdley, who had a superb game and is a name to watch out for in the future, keeping him company to cross the line first just ahead of Bob. After a few deep breaths the number ten kicked the conversion.
Far from feeling sorry for themselves the Vale responded in style. Winger Olly Jacques received the ball in space to out strip the defenders for a loudly acclaimed try converted by Will Hunt in the sixty ninth minute.
Suddenly the Vale upped the tempo, after all there were bonuses to be had, but the curse of dropped passes continued to haunt them. However, their efforts were rewarded in the third minute of injury time when Olly Jacques again raced clear for an unconverted try.
The season has still a long way to run but even after two defeats some players have taken the eye. Newcomers prop Mike Bradshaw and threequarter Will Hunt have settled in well, forwards Callum Kyle produced a splendid cameo as did Steve Tagg. James Robinson continues to impress in the back row and with a number of players due to return corners could well be turned, but in the meantime a local Derby, packed with passion and pride awaits the Vale at Mint Bridge on Saturday.
Match Sponsor: Lancastrian Estates
Ball Sponsor: LA joinery
Team Mascots: Lucy Stoves
Photographs courtesy of Tony North and his Long Tom.
Match report filed by Stuart Vernon.