A 19-12 victory at Vale of Lune and results elsewhere allowed Wilmslow Wolves to extend their lead at the top of North One West to five points.

But it wasn’t a top-of-the-table performance at the weekend and improvements will be needed on Saturday when they face a resurgent Waterloo, now well in the mix in fourth place after hammering lowly Bowdon at Blundellsands.

Wolves did bag the win though with an ever increasing casualty list.

They managed three tries to come away from Powderhouse Lane with four points but it had been hard going against a young Vale of Lune team, in which fewer than half players had any prior first XV experience before the start of the season.

Wolves created sufficient opportunities in the final quarter for a fourth bonus-point winning try but they were denied by a combination of their own inaccuracy with ball in hand and stout defending.

Overall, it was a scrappy, frenetic, butterfingered performance from Wolves, compounded by a retreating scrum, particularly in the second half.

The Wilmslow set piece ended as a poor second best and maybe Vale should have made more of the scoring positions they set up from the frequent penalties they were awarded.

Wilmslow took the lead in the second quarter when, from a midfield scrum, they introduced a bit of width into their back play and crisp passing put Sean Street in for the try, converted by Bob MacCallum.

They fouled up the restart, Vale took the loose ball and after several phases, there was space for their right winger Jordan Fern to skip in for the equalising score.

Vale lost a player to a yellow card for dissent and in retrospect that was to prove decisive.

From the ensuing penalty lineout, Wolves moved the ball quickly along their back line for their intruding full-back James Coulthurst to cross.

Vale were still a man down when early in the second half there was suddenly a bit of zip in the Wolves play with Day, Kingdon and Coulthurst all handling, and when the ball was quickly recycled a marauding run by lock Charlie Gardiner in midfield produced an offload to MacCallum who split the remaining defence for the third try.

At 7-19 with over thirty minutes still on the clock, they might have been expected to have stretched their lead but they were guilty of rushing their opportunities, spilling the ball, losing it in contact and allowing Vale to counter attack.

From an attempted penalty kick to the Wolves corner, the ball was tapped back into play and as it bounced about, Fern was to hand again to pounce on it and score Vale’s second try.