By Mark Hodgkiss
Vale looked far from a team at the wrong end of the table and opened up the Kendal defence at will, but were rock solid when Kendal were on the attack.
This was a “must win” game for both teams. For Vale to avoid been cut adrift, whilst depending on results elsewhere, Kendal could have moved out of the relegation places.
Jack Lashley came into the front row, with Mark Irving dropping back to the second row, for Ross McKay who was away, whilst Ben Dixon came into the back row. Andrew Boardley made a first appearance for several years, coming in at scrum half, whilst Glen Weightman returned at outside half, in place of Nathan McCloy who had missed training over Christmas.
Kendal started well, but could not penetrated the Vale defence, and when Vale got an opportunity they took it. A good break down the left wing was stopped on the Kendal line. From the result scrum, Kendal tried to run the ball, but a knock on gave Vale a scrum. When the ball came back, centre Jordan Dorrington broke through several tackles to cross the line, but passed to back row man Jack Ayton, who had earlier led his team out, having reached an landmark appearance. Right wing Damon Hall added the easy conversion. 7v0.
Kendal were quickly back in to the game. From the kick off Ben Dixon charged down an attempted clearance kick, but unfortunately the ball went straight to a Vale player. The relief for Vale was short lived. Myles Harrop joined the line in the centre and carved through the defence, the moved was carried on by Danny Barker, who found Zane Butler, who chose to go for the line, rather than use Nick Carlton outside him. When he was stopped Danny Barker took the move on again, and found Nick Carlton for the try. Glen Weightman added the conversion to tie the scores. 7v7.
The good work was quickly undone. From the kick off Andrew Boardley’s attempted box kick was charged down, putting Vale on the attack. There was a good break from outside half Ben Dorrington, with more weak tackling, and the ball was moved to No.8 Sam Wallbank on the wing for the try 12v7.
At the restart Robbie Collinson came on for Garry Holmes.
Ill discipline did not help the Kendal cause, as after being awarded a penalty in a good position, an altercation with Vale players saw the penalty reversed.
There was a good run from Chris Downham, who then found Kirk Chettleburgh in support, and he then found Robbie Collinson, and when he was stopped took play on again, but lack of support saw the moved breakdown.
With ten minutes of the half to play, Vale extended their lead with a third try. A Kendal kick out of defence was well taken by Vale fullback Chris Ramwell. He made ground and there was good support and passing, and he was on hand to go over for the score, which Damon Hall converted. 19v7.
In injury time there was a good break from a lineout near halfway by Vale second row Ruan Fourie, and whilst he was finally stopped in the twenty two, Kendal gave away a penalty which Damon Hall put over to give his team a 22v7 half time lead.
It seemed a long way back for Kendal, but they started the second half in the best way possible with a try. There was a good run by John Dervey, with the ball taken on to near the Vale line, but as Kendal set up, Vale centre Fergus Owen came through to kick the ball out of the ruck. He was yellow carded and Kendal awarded a penalty. They took a scrum, but made little impression, but when they got a second scrum under the post Chris Downham broke, and when stopped the ball came back and a long pass found Nick Carlton for the score. Glen Weightman put the conversion over from close to the touchline. 22v14.
Instead of Kendal building on this start, it was Vale who score next five minutes later, with left wing Olly Jacques exploiting more missed tackles for go through with Ben Dorrington converting 29v14.
Kendal continued to press, but could find no way through the Vale defence, and desperation saw more loose passes and mistakes.
Vale added a fifth try with quarter of an hour to play with a solo break by Damon Hall who converted his own try from the touchline 36v14.
This saw Kendal make two further changes with Chris Park and Matthew Kaye coming on for Zane Butler and Andrew Boardley, but Kendal continued to make little impression on the Vale defence.
The final score as the game came to the end of normal time was a Damon Hall penalty, for a Kendal offence at a scrum 39v14.
Vale were good value for their win, which brings them within two points of Kendal, and on this performance they could surprise others as the season progresses. The only positive news was Lymm had failed to get a win at home against Wirral, but Kendal will need to play much better if the positivity of the two wins before Christmas is to be restored. The lack of a cutting edge in attack has been there all season, but the frailty in what has normally been a solid defence was more worrying.
Another big game next week, with Alnwick, who warmed up with a big win against Wilmslow, the visitors to Mintbridge.
Your Kendal MAN OF THE MATCH : Nick Carlton
Two more tries (taking him to nine for the season) saw Nick just hold off Glen Weightman and Robbie Collinson.
|Try||Vale of Lune||7||Jack Ayton||11||5||0|
|Con||Vale of Lune||14||Damon Hall||12||7||0|
|Try||Vale of Lune||8||Sam Wallbank||18||12||7|
|Try||Vale of Lune||15||Chris Ramwell||32||17||7|
|Con||Vale of Lune||14||Damon Hall||33||19||7|
|Pen||Vale of Lune||14||Damon Hall||40+3||22||7|
| = = =|| = = =|| = = =||HALF TIME||40+3||22||7|
|Y/C||Vale of Lune||12||Fergus Owen||41||22||7|
|Try||Vale of Lune||11||Olly Jacques||51||27||14|
|Con||Vale of Lune||14||Damon Hall||52||29||14|
|Try||Vale of Lune||14||Damon Hall||65||34||14|
|Con||Vale of Lune||14||Damon Hall||66||36||14|
|Pen||Vale of Lune||14||Damon Hall||79||39||14|
| = = =|| = = =|| = = =||FULL TIME||82||39||14|