DRAMA A PLENTY.
This encounter showcased, in spades, all that is best about the game.
The proverbial one man and woman with their canine friends witnessed a pulsating game of rugby between two sides who gave their all to the cause in a contest that was a credit to those who had brought into existence the highly respected North West Intermediate Rugby Union Leagues.
Showing great fighting spirit the Thirds came back from 27-5 deficit in the fiftieth minute against a well organised Tarleton side. With the influential Chris Ramwell pulling the strings at fly half and barking out the orders the Vale played with increasing confidence and slowly began to chew their way into Tarleton’s lead.
The fight back began in the fifty third when following a break from Chris Ramwell; Alex Griffith, who had impressed throughout, clinically finished off the move, his try being converted by Ryan Busby.
This score was a huge boost for the Vale, they started to play with increasing endeavour, the ball was move swiftly around to force Tarleton, for the first time in the game onto the back foot. In the forwards Tom Smith, Rob O’Brien, Dave Robinson, Tom Needham and Steve MacDonald began to make their presence felt in the close quarter exchanges.
Scrum half Zavier Ferrer Rubio stated to buzz like an angry wasp, Charlie Robinson proved difficult to halt as the Vale made huge territorial gains. On the hour mark Zavier was in the right position to round off a close passing move for a try converted by Ryan Busby.
Tarleton were visibly taken aback by the Vale’s revival and their lead was reduced to a single point in the sixty second minute when Chris Ramwell merry legged his way over for a solo try converted by Ryan Busby.
Five minutes later the visitors achieved some much needed breathing space with a penalty goal but they could not afford to let their concentration slip because in the final ten minutes they were subjected to intense Vale pressure.
Line outs, scrums, penalties that were clipped into touch, all added to Tarleton’s discomfort but they defended stoutly as the Vale pushed and probed. It all became a little frantic in the final minutes, the occasional pass was dropped and the some attacks hit a brick wall. Tarleton hung onto to their narrow lead in a riveting climax to an absolute belting game of rugby played with tremendous spirit from both sets of players. The encounter was admirably refereed by Alisdair Boyle who handled the whole game with an air of calm authority and empathy for the combatants.
Tarleton, who have only suffered one league loss so far, began the stronger and quickly had the Vale on the back foot. The home side struggled to develop any pattern to their play mainly because Tarleton were much quicker to the breakdown and able to despatch the ball accurately crossfield.
The opening score came in the fourteenth when following persistent pressure, an unconverted try was scored wide out. This was followed four minutes later with a converted try after a series of swift, accurate passes had cut Vale’s defence to ribbons.
The Vale did mount the odd isolated attack but they were firmly shackled by their opponents who at this stage were giving little way, they certainly had plenty of tricks but were loathe lob any treats in the Vale’s direction.
Vale’s enthusiastic touch judge went through an elaborate warm up procedure when he thought he might be called into the fray that brought tears to the eyes of those solitary souls on the East Terrace. His passion rubbed off on the players because in the twenty third minute winger Toby Holt danced through for an unconverted try.
The first half scoring continued with a converted Tarleton try wide on the left and in the fourth minute of stoppage time they kicked a penalty goal. Vale’s woes deepened in the fiftieth minute with an unconverted Tarleton try before the Vale picked themselves off the canvas to mount their sensational fight back in front of a meagre, but fully engrossed and supportive audience.