VAGABONDS played their part at the weekend in a thrilling South Lancashire/Cheshire Division One encounter at Bowdon on Saturday, but unfortunately came away on the wrong end of a 32-31 scoreline.
The Manx side were slow out of the blocks and three opportunist tries from the home side gave them a 17-0 lead after 20 minutes.
It was at this point Vagas started to move the ball and the big home side’s pack around to great effect. Half-backs Leigh Kennaugh and Jonny Beckley were finding space to set the likes of Aiden O’Shea and Ross McCulloch away into acres of space.
A great set-piece move saw Kennaugh wrap around the outside and set Jetro Kruger flying down the wing. Kruger was hauled down yards from the line but supporting, like every good openside should, was Akki Van Den Berg to slide over in the corner. Beckley added the extras.
Vagabonds were now finding plenty of space and great hands in the midfield by Adam Matheson set James Hammal away down the touchline who off-loaded to Rob Martin who went over.
On the stroke of half-time the direct running of McCulloch sliced open the midfield before an impressive hand off on the covering fullback gave him the opportunity to dive over in the corner.
The extras were missed by Beckley to leave the score tied 17-17 at the break.
A shell-shocked Bowdon regrouped and started the second period very much like they did in the first half. and their big powerful pack rumbled over from a five-metre lineout.
Vagabonds were next to strike. A set-piece move in midfield brought Hammal crashing through under the posts and Beckley knocked over the extras.
Within two minutes that man Hammal was on the score sheet again after great chasing enabled a clearing kick to be charged down by prop forward Kevin Birchall.
Kennaugh whipped the ball out across the backline for Hammal to squeeze over in the corner.
Beckley added the extras to see Vagas 31-22 infront with just under a quarter of the match to go.
Bowdon, however, regrouped once again and kept hold of the ball with their big pack to squeeze out two further pushover tries from attacking lineouts as the Manx side missed out by a point.
To score five tries away from home and come out on the wrong end of a result is disappointing. However, if Vagas play like they did at the weekend for the rest of the season more victories are certain to come.