Fylde Vandals 38 Vale of Lune 4ths 8
It was a full house at The Woodlands on Saturday with the 1st’ team, Hawks and Vandals all at home. So with space at a premium inside and out it was back to the good old days as the Vandals took the small changing room E and also the training pitch alongside the main pitch for their game. Unfortunately Vale were a couple of players down so the EPD negotiated with the group after which Pete Acton and Mike Hewitson offered their services to the visitors, nice one boys.
Vale started the game at a rate of knots and within a minute were three points to the good as the Vandals gave a penalty away which was duly slotted by the Vale kicker. They continued in the same vain for the next 10 minutes and this seemed to knock the Vandals off their game plan as they gave away more soft penalties and field position. All this culminated in Vale scoring a five pointer and they were certainly good for their lead.
The Vandals managed to settle down and put some pressure on the Vale defence. They got well into Vale’s 22 and made good decisions to put the ball through a couple of pairs of hands up the blindside and Tony Rawlinson bundled himself over the line for the try. Sean Whiteside was unable to add the extras. It was nip and tuck for the rest of the first half with both teams playing some good stuff and it was only good defence that stopped any more points being scored by either team. Dave Porter put in a very strong shift but as it was the half ended 5-8 to Vale.
The wind was on the backs of the Vandals for the second period and this enabled them to get some good territory and to start to take a bit more control in some excellent areas of the pitch. The forwards did what Vandals forwards do and from a rolling maul a try was scored. Ali Atkinson, cradling the ball, was the last person to stand. Frazer Swindells was good with kick.
Another try was very much on the cards and right on time up popped the EPD who rolled back the years to ghost into the corner slap bang in front of the massed ranks of 1st team supporters who were very complimentary towards him for his efforts! The conversion was missed. The beneficiary of the next piece of good play was Jack King who, after some top efforts from the big boys, ran a typically gorgeous line to go under the sticks. It was the other Jack who touched down next. The forwards had made good metres and from a scrum Ethan Harvey ran across the pitch and popped a lovely ball to Jack Jones who scored unopposed to the right of the posts. Swindells the younger bagged the kicks.
Swindells the older finished off the scoring for the Vandals when from a similar position as the last he stepped the closest defender and went inside the fullback to dot down under the posts. Junior added the 2 pointer. There was still 10 minutes left and Vale were competing hard. They worked their way well into the Vandals half and were pressurising the Vandals red zone. The defence was good though with countless tackles being made. Jon Whitby was, as always, at the heart of this and unfortunately in doing so he sustained a nasty ankle injury. The referee could see this was going to take a while to sort so he blew for the end of the game with the score 38-8 to the Vandals.
This was a great team effort and a good win but it was marred by the Jon Whitby’s injury. It was obvious to one and all that he had dislocated his ankle but we later found out he had shattered his fibula too. He is hopefully having an operation to repair things on Monday. Jon is one of the Vandals’ most consistent players and has put in some great performances through this season. He will be greatly missed on the pitch for the final run-in. We all wish him a speedy recovery and hope to see him very soon.
Vale are a great bunch of lads and worked hard contributing lots to the game. We wish them well for the rest of the season. Thanks to all the Vandals for turning out, especially Pete Acton and Mike Hewitson for volunteering to play for Vale. Next Saturday is Easter Saturday but there’s no holiday for the Vandals as they play away at Rochdale 3rd’s in a rearranged fixture.
The team was – Tim Barrett, Chris Cardwell, Damian King, Scottish Ali Atkinson, Richard Todd, Jon Whitby, Richard Mason (c), Dave Porter, Ethan Harvey, Phil Swindells, Frazer Swindells, Gary Andrews, Tony Rawlinson, Sean Townsend, Sean Whiteside, Adey Grey, Alex Grey, Jack King, Jack Jones, Pete Acton, Mike Hewitson
Try Scoring EPD – Sean Townsend
Report – Phil Swindells
Photos – Sarah Swindells