Vale extend League winning streak to 5 games
Vale welcomed Castle Donington to the Welfare ground, and extended their winning run despite a bruising, physical encounter.
Vale came into this 5th league game of the season full of confidence - so far this season four wins with four bonus points and joint top of the league table meant they had every right to be confident.
Vale started keenly and pressured Donington right from the kick off, but showed a few early signs of complacency during the early rucks which needed to be corrected and quickly. But the started was dampened by a moment of anger after just eight minutes, which saw veteran Barrie Stoutt sent from the field for reacting to a knee to the head. With 70 minutes to go Vale new they faced an uphill battle if they were to win with 14 men.
Things went from bad to worse when a little to much verbal outpouring from tighthead prop Chris Lee lead to him being sent from the field for 10 minutes, reducing Vale to just 13 men.
Fortunately, everyone else in a Vale shirt accepted the challenge and upped their games accordingly to compensate for the imbalance in numbers - attack after attack by the Vale forwards took them within inches of the line but Donington showed stern defence and repelled the drive time and time again. With a Donington player now enjoying 10 minutes rest for repeated infrigement in the red zone, Captain Ross Emery took the responsibility upon himself, tapping a penalty and driving over the line, with Brad Rhodes adding the extra points with the boot.
A short while later, after more work from the forward pack, Chris Lee went some way toward redeeming his earlier indiscretions by powering over the line for his 3rd try of the season. 12 - 0 to Vale at half time.
After the break it was Vales turn to absorb some pressure - Donington were never going to roll over and in the second half they showed renewed vigour and at times threatened to expose Vale's lack of the extra player, but whenever a threat was made, a vale player would always get across and make the crucial tackle. Centre Jez Dawson showed time and again his skill in tackling and some strong hits from wing Nick Bromley left Donington little option but to kick for goal when the opportunity arose - 3 penalty goals, all superbly struck by the Donington kicker, meant that with 15 minutes of the game left, Vale were in a somewhat precarious position, with only a three point lead.
at this stage, Vale seemed to once again wake up and take the game more firmly in their own grasp - strong running from the backs and driving play from the forwards took Vale close to the try line again, and a monumental shove from the whole pack drove Donington back over their own line for replacement 8 Jake Mason to score. The search for the bonus point yielding 4th try proved too much for Vale as the rest of the game was played out in tight play and scrummages, but that mattered little compared to the win itself, extending Vale's record in the league this season to 5 wins from 5. Man of the match for his magnificent defensive work was Jez Dawson.
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