On a freezing cold afternoon De La Salle came to MacPherson Park intent on keeping pressure on leaders Aspatria, MV were desperate to break a 3 game losing run and secure a mid table placing.
Both teams opened lively and the visitors looked to get the better of some early exchanges forcing 2 penalty attempts which both failed to hit the target. MV had a new look to the back line with stand-off Crampton missing and centre Gillam returning from a long-term injury.
It was John Gillam that made the first telling break of the game as he burst through the De La Salle defence making great yards into the 22 meter danger zone before off loading to supporting centre Zac Crabb who ran in behind the posts. Pat Eccles converted for MV to go 7-0 in front.
MV needed to consolidate for a spell however the Salford side had not read the script and hit back almost immediately. They kept the ball alive and forced play through the phases down the left flank for a score by their winger which was converted by a good kick to level at 7-7. There was not much between the sides and good refereeing kept the discipline intact as the sides went into half time level.
The second half saw a swift change in fortunes at De La Salle came at MV strongly scoring a quick try under the posts converted easily to jump 7-14 ahead. MV had no sooner restarted when De La Salle struck again to extend their lead to 7-21.
It was critical that MV did not cave in at this point and Pat Eccles steadied the ship with a well struck penalty 10-21. With De La Salle again on the attack young Greg Warren swooped on a long pass to intercept on the half way line and race in from long-range, Eccles missing the kick 15-26.
Both sides were competing well and when big centre Gillam once again broke through he maintained his charge to be tackled just short of the line but roll and get the touchdown, the conversion from Eccles brought MV right back in at 22-28. As the full-time whistle approached and MV clinging to a losing bonus point De La struck from a 5 metre scrum, a good drive and pick saw a crushing last-minute try easily converted for a deserved win for the visitors and no points for MV.
This was a missed opportunity for MV who probably had their best chance of beating De La Salle for a number of seasons. MV need to improve their work rate and fitness if they want to compete in a high tempo style of play against teams that have competed at this level for a number of season.
Results are not easy to come by and league points are not dished out without a fight. MV now need to focus on next weeks game away at Oldham against a team that lost by a single point at MV earlier in the season 20-19.
MV are looking for new recruits to their 1st XV squad to add strength as the enter the business end of the season. If you think you can force your way into a competitive 1st XV Rugby team then contact MV 1st XV captain Andy Quigley 07791 545445