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Wirral's first win over Vale
3:00pm Tuesday 5th February 2013 in Rugby
WIRRAL achieved their first ever victory over a powerful Vale team aided by their forwards following the loss through injury of three influential backs, writes Richard McNeil.
The home team took the lead in the second minute when a maul on the Vale line saw the ball come out to Sam Broadbent who from 8m out crashed over in the corner.
However Vale were soon back on level terms after a poor clearance by Wirral saw Nick Royle advance some 50m before putting Robert Ward in at the corner, none of the tries were converted.
Just before half-time, Wirral took the lead when a kick through by Craig Harvey was followed up by his brother Danny to score under the posts with Craig converting.
At this stage Wirral had lost two backs through injury.
The second half saw Vale attacking with the benefit of the breeze and after five minutes Wirral lost their captain, Craig Harvey, which meant that the Wirral backline included three forwards.
This gave Vale the incentive to use their backs with their greater pace but the Wirral defence played their part.
The forwards on gaining the ball some 15m from their own line controlled possession for a number of minutes as they edged up field aided by penalties until they were camped on the Vale line.
They lost possession at the last moment and as Vale tried to pass along the line an interception from Sam Broadbent saw him crash over with two Vale players hanging on, the conversion was missed.
Thereafter a rearguard action by the Wirral team continued to keep out Vale and it took until the 78th minute for the defence to be breached when Vale forward Wallbank managed to squeeze over the line with Hodde converting.
With five minutes of injury time to play, the Wirral team held out for a memorable victory.