Vagabonds B secured the Shimmin Wilson Manx Shield when beating Castletown 41-3 in miserable conditions at Poulsom Park on Saturday afternoon.
The win marks a remarkable turnaround in fortunes after Vagas lost their opening two matches and found themselves next to bottom in the table.
When asked what he had done to effect the change, skipper Matt Rockwell said: ‘Nothing really. We knew as a group of players that our opening performances were below par and if we kept working for each other we would be in with a shout come the end of the season.’
As the rain fell, conditions became very difficult for both sides and a determined Castletown effort frustrated Vagas. The opening score came after nine minutes and was an outstanding individual effort from Vagas number eight Kim Tomlinson. He broke down the right-hand touchline but was bundled into touch a few yards short. The resulting penalty was tapped quickly and Tomlinson was on hand to dive over for a 5-0 lead.
After half an hour’s play, Vagas cracked the defence again. A midfield ruck gave quick ball and that man Tomlinson went in for his second. He then went on to complete his hat-trick on 35 minutes when he controlled well and touched down at the base of a five-metre scrum. Johnny Beckley converted this to make the score 17-0.
With the final play of the half, Beckley found Arno Cruywagen with a pinpoint pass and the big centre crashed in from close range to leave Vagas 22-0 in front at the break.
Chris Neill set up Vagas opening score of the second half. His midfield break took him behind the Town defence and, after drawing full back Kunal Patel into the tackle. He offloaded to flanker Jack Rowlands who galloped in under the posts. Michael Oates converted and the game was looking secure at 29-0.
Castletown started to develop some pressure inside the opposing side’s half. James Jones and Mike Condra carried well in the forwards and the pressure finally gave them an opportunity for points after Vagas were drawn offside. John Forrest kicked the penalty and Town were on the board at 29-3.
Sadly for Town it was to be their last scoring chance and Vagas wrapped the game up at the other end with two late tries that gave the scoreboard a somewhat flattering look. Piers Dillon’s powerful run created the first, which was scored by Arno Cruywagen and it was the latter who created the second which Beckley finished.
Oates, in his last appearance for Vagas, converted one of these to leave the final score 41-3 for the Ballafletcher side, who clinched the Shield for the first time in 10 years.