Victory against Penrith means that fingernails can begin to grow again unhindered.
Vale avenged two earlier defeats at the hands of Penrith with a deserved victory to make certain of Bateman BMW Premier League status next season which was doubly underlined when it was announced that Broughton Park seconds had been stripped of points following infringement of the laws relating to a fixture being called off.
In an excellent team performance special mention must be made of the collective efforts of the pack. Prop Phil Berry saw off his opposite number, while replacement Jay Ashton-Yamnikar put in a full shift which contained a number of shuddering tackles.
Vale were forced to make changes from their selected line up and injuries to Issac Thompson and Lawrence Wallace caused further disruptions. The Vale coped well under the circumstances and although they were guilty of conceding a couple of soft tries they were in control for long periods at crucial stages of the game.
Penrith kicked an early penalty goal but in the fifth minute Andy Muir fielded a wayward kick out of defence to claim a try in the corner from virtually nothing. A Gareth Price penalty followed in the ninth minute prior to the Vale having to reshuffle their side following the departure of Lawrence Wallace.
Once back in the groove the Vale applied pressure with the in form Huw Marsden touching down for a try converted by Price in the twenty second minute. Phil Berry’s all round efforts were rewarded with an unconverted try but gradually Penrith edged their way back into the game. Either side of half time they recorded two converted tries to reduce the Vale’s lead to three points.
After coming through a testing period the Vale stabilized the situation with two nerve calming tries from the fired up Jay Ashton-Yamnikar one of which Price converted. Holding a comfortable lead the Vale were unable to halt a determined charge from a Penrith prop for an unconverted try wide out.
If there were any doubts about the outcome a Vale victory was nailed down when the industrious Adam Foxcroft picked up and dived over from one metre out, which had increased to thirty during the course of the evening, after his fellow forwards had driven their opposite numbers backwards.
On Saturday the Vale travel to Lymm for their closing game of the campaign which over a number of weeks has forced them to dig deep to clamber their way out of the relegation zone. During the last three months the Vale have displayed tremendous character, their heads have never dropped, the team spirit has been first class and despite all the trials and tribulations they have remained philosophical and played with a smile on their faces. Well done to all.