Storm Eric rattled the tiles but Typhoon Hull blew the roof off!
Not my words but the words of Stuart Vernon, the Vale of Lune Press Officer, after Hull had put 97 points past his side in last Saturday’s fixture at the Ferens Ground. Hull ran in 15 tries, just one short of the club record of 16 v Manchester some years ago with wingers Steve Hihetah (5) and Mike Adlard (4) leading the way. Alex Heard and Tom O’Donnell scored 2 each with Steve Johnson and Keane Naylor also crossing the line. Simon Humberstone landed 11 conversion and his tactical kicking, both with the wind and against it, made sure that Vale nearly always began what possession they had was deep in their own half. To their credit the visitors battled valiantly and always in a very sporting manner, which is not always the case when things are going badly for a side.
Elsewhere in the division Alnwick had a good 23-12 home win over Ilkley, coming back well after the Dalesmen had led 12-8 at the break. In the second v third game at Billingham visitors Blaydon built up a 15-0 lead before Billingham took over to lead 17-15, A Blaydon try made it 22-17 and they looked likely winners until the final minute when Billingham drew level with a try which was converted to win a very close and tense game. Harrogate travelled to Kendal and cruised to a convincing 38-0 win over the struggling Cumbrians but another Cumbrian side, Kirkby Lonsdale, travelled to Lymm to post a good 31-17 win to take them even further away from the four sides below them.
In what seem to have been a very close game at Rossendale the home side once again showed their erratic form when visitors Wirral took the spoils with a 14-8 victory and finally Sandal had a very convincing 43-12 win over bottom side Wilmslow who have had a terrible first season in the Northern Premier League.
The positions after all these fixtures again shows very little change with Hull increasing their lead at the top with 88 points, with Billingham going back into second place on 69 points in place of Blaydon who are now third on 66. The Geordies might have thought they would have had a good chance of a return to N2N as champions after two consecutive relegations but they have now lost 7 games. Harrogate are still fourth on 65 points and will consider themselves still well in the hunt for a runners-up spot.
Down in the nether regions there is no change at all in the bottom four with Wilmslow on 10 points, Vale of Lune on 24 points, Kendal on 26 points and Lymm on 30. Kirkby Lonsdale have drawn even further away from the chasing pack and are on 43 points.
This week’s games sees league leaders Hull travelling 181 miles to Alnwick on a 19 match winning run with the home side on a 5 match winning run. Alnwick have won 7 of their 9 home games but the highest placed side in that run was Sandal who are now eighth. Third placed Blaydon entertain ninth-placed Rossendale, who will have to up their game to get anything from this fixture; seventh play fifth when Ilkley host Wirral and after Wirral’s win at Rossendale they will fancy their chances against the Dalesmen. Kendal v Sandal could well go the way of the Cumbrians who badly need the points and the same can be said of the fixture between Vale of Lune v Lymm in a dog eats dog tussle. The last two games sees Kirkby Lonsdale take on Harrogate in a tenth v fourth game which should go the way of the Yorkshiremen. Finally, Wilmslow v Billingham should be a shoe-in for Billingham who will be keen to retain second spot in the table with only seven games remaining.