Tough day at the office for Douglas v Stockport

Thursday 7th April 2022 6:00 am
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Carl Markl-Ferns gets the ball away from the scrum for Douglas during their game against North One West champions Stockport at Port-e-Chee on Saturday afternoon (DK220402 (98)) (Dave Kneale/Isle of Man Newspapers )

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Douglas Rugby Club made some unexpected changes to face runaway North One West league leaders Stockport at Port-e-Chee on Saturday afternoon.

As a result, the Manx team actually contained the rampant Greater Manchester side for much of the contest.

Comparisons to previous results - where Stockport shut out Broughton Park 62-0, beat Birkenhead Park 55-14 and Kendal 55-15 - suggest Douglas stuck to their task despite a catalogue of players unavailable through injury and incurring another key injury late in this episode when Robert Todd left the field.

Four first-half tries and two conversions for 0-24 put the result and Stockport bonus point to bed, and the litmus test began for the home side.

Carl Markl-Ferns was one of the selection surprises at scrum-half and, if you needed a scrapper in your corner when the chips are heading north, he’s your man.

Short of match fitness, Markl-Ferns, Craig McGee, Nik Cain and Brendan Kelly stood the test, and the Douglas scrum chalked up a major plus: shortly after Owen Carvin took a heavy midfield hit, the Douglas front-row lifted their opposite numbers clean out of the scrum with a real statement of defiance.

Simon Hoddinott remained Stockport’s nemesis in attack and defence wherever he popped up and Harry Hewson in midfield never stopped probing.

Five second-half tries signified no Stockport relaxation, but Douglas heads and hearts were still in there at the whistle. With three matches remaining to conclude the season, Douglas know the opposition doesn’t get any better.

Douglas squad:

Owen Carvin, Nathan Hinks, Robert Todd, Nick Hughes, John Dutnall, Blake Snell, Craig McGee, Oisin Foley-Gaffney, Simon Hoddinott, Carl Markl-Ferns, Jack Shimmin, Harry Hewson, Nik Cain, Charlie Henthorn, Brendan Kelly, Ralph Clarke.

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