NO HALTING TOBY.
It might have been a slow burn but once the fuse was lit the Thirds fizzed.
Thanks to Fred Swarbrick and his faithful Box Brownie for the photographs.
The thirds won their first game, earlier they were awarded a walk over win when De La Salle failed to raise a team. This was an uplifting, confidence boosting performance against Littleborough, for the thirds because after their initial setbacks they are developing into a positive force.
Vale found themselves under pressure in the early stages with Littleborough’s number eight being very effective in a well organised side that was expertly guided by an influential fly half.
After soaking up the pressure the Vale opened the scoring when Alex Briggs coasted through a huge gap for a try which he converted in the seventeenth minute.
Some weak lethargic Vale tackling let Littleborough in for an unconverted try at the mid way point and they fell further behind just before half time when the visitor’s number ten touched down for a classy try which he converted with an excellent kick.
In stoppage time the Vale showed their potential in the threequarters with an exciting try. Centre Charlie Dickenson drew in the cover before releasing winger Toby Holt who bolted away for a try converted by Alex Briggs.
Vale made a disappointing start to the second half succumbing to an unconverted try. To make matters worse a number of penalty kicks at goal were declined to the annoyance of their suppoerters.
Although the Vale remained in touch they struggled to stamp their authority on the game against a Littleborough side that looked fairly comfortable in protecting their three point lead.
However, in the sixty seventh minute Vale achieved the breakthrough they needed. Both Charlie Dickinson and Toby Holt made lightning breaks in the build up to Toby Holt’s second try, which was converted by Alex Briggs.
Three minutes later Joe Wallbank comprehensively finished off a period of forward pressure with a try; Alex Briggs’s conversion thumped against the crossbar but did not have the legs to clamber over.
Sam Hoare gleefully helped himself to a typical try in the seventy fourth minute which Alex Briggs converted but there was still enough time remaining for referee Steve Dobbin to deal firmly with an outbreak of indiscipline by issuing a flurry of yellow cards which helped to focus minds.
During the game there was plenty of endeavour from the pack with Rob O’Brien, Joe Bebbington, Matt Field and Sam Hoare all making important contributions. In the backs Jimmy Birchall and Charlie Dickinson formed a solid partnership in the centre; the mercurial Toby Holt always posed a threat, while Kaine Winder made his presence felt when he came off the bench.
Match report filed by Stuart Vernon.