Vale of Lune 24-31 Douglas (I.O.M.)

Billy Swarbrick. Picture: Tony North.
Billy Swarbrick. Picture: Tony North.

Vale of Lune’s eight-game winning run came to an end on Saturday as Douglas (I.O.M) became the first team to win at Powderhouse Lane since December 2016.

Douglas flew into Liverpool John Lennon Airport and quickly created turbulence in Vale’s defence with a try within the first minute.

Vale made a mess of defending an innocent-looking attack which ended with threequarter Guy Wood strolling over, his try being converted by scrum half Bryn Snellgrove.

Then, in the ninth minute, winger Nick Brooker snapped up a dropped pass to skedaddle through the departure lounge for a try again converted by Snellgrove.

The Vale gradually came into the game, and in the 14th minute from a short line out Sam Wallbank scurried over for an unconverted try.

In the 40th minute Sam Wallbank made a break to carve out an opening in a move that ended with scrum half Billy Swarbrick touching down for a try converted by stand-off Harry Finan, but half-time came too early for them Vale because by the time they started the second 40 their momentum had disappeared.

Changes were made in Vale’s pack and Douglas capitalised on the confusion – from a line out Snellgrove took off for the goal line and an unconverted try.

Full back Jordan Dorrington hit back for the Vale though with a try which Finan converted from wide out on the right to level the scores.

Four minutes later the Vale took the lead with a bonus point try scored by the dynamic Jack Ayrton after good work from Dorrington and Wallbank, but they were in for a tempestuous final ten minutes. In the 69th minute the Vale were unable to protect their ball after winning a line out in their twenty two. Somehow Douglas secured possession and flanker Craig McGee slipped over for a bonus point, unconverted try.

Vale flirted with danger late on and as the game nudged into stoppage time the ball went loose number ten Carl Murray who was onto it in a flash to canter between the posts for a try converted by Snellgrove.

In the final move of the game, the ball was shipped crossfield, winger Olly Jacques spotted a gap but in the process of grounding the ball it slipped from his grasp and Vale were beaten 31-24.