Following a below par performance, perhaps the Vale were suffering a hangover from their mauling against Macclesfield, against the club that is bottom of Conference B the Vale’s defeat leaves them perilously close to the relegation zone and facing a number of challenging fixtures beginning with a visit to Liverpool St Helens on Saturday.
Playing into a strong, cold wind the Vale went ahead in the tenth minute with a well engineered try. A successful, aggressive forward drive put the home side on the back foot, the ball was moved wide via a long pass which found Rob Ward, who ran with determination down his flank for his try, witnessed by his parents who made the trip north from Bedford.
At least Rob’s parents had something to cheer about at wind and snow swept aptly named Winters Park, after making the long trip up from Bedford.
As the game moved into the second quarter the home side’s centre burst through some ineffective tackling for a converted try. Worse was to follow for the visitors in the second minute of injury time after they had managed just to keep within touch for much of the half.
Penrith’s second try came like a bolt from the blue because the Vale were pressing for a score on the Penrith line. Possession was lost at a crucial moment; Penrith chanced their arm to sweep downfield for a dramatic try that left the Vale reeling both physically and mentally.
Although Gareth Price
kicked a penalty goal in the fifty second minute the Vale were unable to impose themselves on the game which, despite a close scoreline drifted away from them.
Vale found it difficult to retain possession, they were turned over at regular intervals and forced to live off scraps, passes went astray and ominously their pack began to creak alarmingly against a Penrith eight that used their power and technique to good effect to neutralise the visitor’s ambitions.
produced another whole hearted performance, Matt Wilson
tackled bravely throughout, and Luke Richmond worked hard in the centre, but collectively Vale struggled to execute a game plan that could not only contain Penrith, who registered their first Conference win of the season, but fashion a victory.
Vale A: G Price; J Reeves (L Power 50), J Antcliffe, L Richmond, R Ward; K Doyle, J Whyke; J O’Donnell, R O’Brien, P Jackson; L Farnworth (Capt), A Foxcroft; M Wilson, O Cowey, G Tudor.