Douglas 38 v 34 Wilmslow
Waterworth Nose For Hat Trick . .
Old Mutual Douglas beat North One West leaders Wilmslow 38-34 in a thriller at Port-e-Chee, and while the gap to the top is cut to four points, a win for third place Penrith plus losing bonus points for Wilmslow and Birkenhead Park mean Douglas remain in fourth place for now. Heavy rain had played havoc with fixtures elsewhere, however the lush green carpet at Port-e-Chee was in tip top condition and with bright but low sunshine the only weather problem the stage was set for an epic battle, and it began in the very first minute. Wilmslow fumbled the kick off. Lance Wyllie snaffled the ball which was fired into the back line where flanker Seth Waterworth took a pass at pace and crashed through the Wilmslow line for the opening score. Will Cain converted and Douglas were 7-0 up without breaking sweat.
The frantic opening continued from the restart this time with Wilmslow in the driving seat. Full back James Coulthurst joined the back line at pace and carved an opening into the Douglas twenty two. His offload found Jamie Kingdon in support and he finished off neatly. Bob McCallum’s conversion missed the target and Douglas led by two. The breathless start continued into the fifth minute when another defensive fumble let Douglas in for their second with the big man Waterworth again doing the damage, this time from twenty metres out. Cain converted for a 14-5 lead.
As the half hour mark neared, Wilmslow struck back again. Douglas indiscipline coughed up a penalty and McCallum pumped it into the corner. The visiting pack set up for a catch and drive move but before it got going number eight Alex Taylor slipped off the back and forced his way over the Douglas line down the blindside. The conversion was missed and left Douglas 14-10 ahead. Three minutes before half time they grabbed their third score. The Douglas pack trucked the ball into the Wilmslow twenty two, and with the defence short handed there was space wide on the right for Waterworth to complete his hat trick. Cain converted to leave Douglas 21-10 in front at the interval.
From the off Wilmslow had a new sense of urgency and within five minutes they got the score they needed. The forwards drove into the Douglas twenty two and set up quick ruck ball. This was whipped into the centre where once again Coulthurst joined the back line at speed, and he sliced through the defence to score under the posts. McCallum converted to reduce the Douglas lead to 21-17. Fifteen minutes in, Wilmslow took the lead. A rising penalty count saw Douglas concede a line-out five metres from their line. The defence held the catch and drive, but as it broke up prop Rhodri Lewis smashed over the line from close range. McCallum converted to put his side 24-21 in front.
The lead was short lived….
and a Cain penalty two minutes later tied the game at 24-24 as the clock ticked into the final quarter. Waterworth departed with what transpired to be a broken nose, and with fifteen to play Douglas finally snatched the lead back and secured their try-bonus point. Centre Harry Hewson showed everyone a clean pair of heels down the right hand touchline and Cain, now in a groove, converted and Douglas led by seven. Douglas emptied the bench with Jo Corkish, Ceiran Sherrard and Blake Snell the fresh legs, and the final ten minutes were as frantic as the first five. With ten to play, Counthurst ran in his second of the afternoon and reduced the lead to two points.
Three minutes later Douglas appeared to make sure of the game when James Maddrell broke clear down the left wing and raced in for the try. When Cain added the extra’s, Douglas led by nine points with just two minutes plus stoppages to play, but in extra time Ollie Lee was shunted over from a line out and that left Wilmslow needing a try to win. The Douglas defence was under considerable pressure in the closing minutes, but Adam Boyd’s leap to intercept an optimistic long ball in midfield kept Wilmslow at bay in the 84th and final minute.