ARRIVING a few minutes late at Port-e-Chee on Saturday the scoreboard was not a welcoming sight, with the visitors 0-7 ahead, but as I walked to the pitch 2e2 Douglas back Will Latta danced his way over for a score to reduce the deficit to two points.
The game was showing a similar pattern, with the visiting pack trying to slow the pace and keep the ball tight in order to use their superior size and weight to wear down the Douglas eight. But, as has usually been the way, the Douglas forwards were up for the challenge.
Midway through the half a quick tap from a free-kick saw Andy Jones find Latta. He outpaced his centre on an outside arc and young wing Callum Carine cut in on the switch pass to race in from 22 metres and score near the posts, Bryn Snellgrove converted, 12-7 Douglas.
The last play of the half saw one of the best tries of the season thus far. Again from a quick tap, Jones found Snellgrove who fired a long miss-miss to Latta who again went on the outside arc. The other young wing, Andrew Evans, again came on the switch pass and he drove infield.
Paul Leivers was on hand to take the pass and keep the move going, as was Steve Tansell now the defence was struggling, having been missed out with the initial cut-out pass. Skipper Ryan Maddox had looped around and was on hand to receive the ball from Tansell to score. Snellgrove converted to leave the score 19-7 to Douglas at half-time.
Snellgrove put Douglas farther ahead with a penalty early in the second half, but shortly afterwards the home side conceded one of too many second half penalties and Southport kicked the ball deep into the 22. From the ensuing lineout the visiting pack kept good control of the ball to drive it to the line. The try was converted 22-14 and game on.
With 23 minutes remaining Snellgrove landed his second penalty to put the home side 11 points ahead 25-14.
For a few minutes Douglas looked as though they might push on and get the bonus point try, but Southport had other ideas and again their heavy pack took control of the ball. For the last quarter hour the visitors camped in the home 22 metre area, apart from a couple of brief respites, but the defence was solid and determined and there were no more scores. Both teams finished with 14 players with a man each in the sin-bin.
This weekend Douglas travel to Merseyside to take on Sefton, who defeated Vagabonds on Saturday.