Tough local match with a deserved win for Vale powered by another dominant forward performance
Better than expected weather prevailed as Vale welcomed back some familiar faces for the last league game of the season with Creswell Crusaders. With the prospect of promotion technically still possible, but in truth, highly unlikely, Vale were keen to mark this game that would be the last regular turn out for a few of the senior players, not least veteran, club chairman and long time first choice scrum half David Ellison, who, as captain for the day, raised Vale with stirring pre-match words and emotions and left them in no doubt of the importance of this game.
Ellison won the toss and elected to play up the slope and into the wind for the first half, in order to have the better of the conditions in the second half. It was, however, Creswell who sparked into life first, scoring a well worked try on the wing following some handy work in the midfield. Vale answered quickly to level the scores and this would be the way of the first half. Tries for Ellison, No 8 Ashley Short and replacement hooker Chris Guy could seemingly not prevent a likely lead at the break for Creswell, who, despite being under heavy pressure in the scrums, played exceptionally well in the backs, until Brad Rhodes skipped through the defences to score in a superb individual effort, and converted to make the half time score 24-21 to the home side.
With the conditions now in their favour, Vale took more control in the second half and stamped their authority on the game. Even after their hitherto dominant scrum was neutralised through uncontested scrums, as Creswell ran out of front row players, Vale continued to apply the pressure in other parts of the field. Another four tries, scored by Short, Rhodes, Tighthead prop Chris Lee and flanker Jim Smith were all added before the final consolation score of the game went to Creswell, their only score in a second half of epic commitment by the Vale men. The Final score was Meden Vale 48 - 28 Creswell, with the man of the match award going to Brad Rhodes for his 2 tries and four conversion kicks.