South Lancs/Cheshire - Division Two North
Douglas 17, Oswestry 14
OSWESTRY slipped to a first defeat in ten games as a depleted Eagles side failed to come away from Douglas with a first ever win on the Isle of Man.
The Eagles were bereft of several first team players due to other commitments as well as the loss of leading try scorer Rob Massam, but they still managed to give their hosts a run for their money despite being knocked off the top of the table.
Oswestry slip to third as a result of the defeat, with Douglas leapfrogging them into second place, but Scott Sturdy’s men still have games in hand over the two sides above them and have two weeks off to prepare for their home fixture with Ellesmere Port on January 28.
Eighteen-year-old Tom Bowker made his debut for the Eagles’ first team and celebrated by pouncing on a loose ball to run in his first try for the club after out-pacing the Douglas defence.
Andy Howell converted and the forwards dominated the Douglas pack throughout the rest of the half, with the Isle of Man team forced to kick for territory under a fierce Oswestry onslaught.
However, Douglas reverted to their own passing game after half-time and eventually put themselves on the scoreboard with a converted try to level the game.
And the match swung further in the home side’s favour when Nathan Parker was sin-binned for a late tackle, and they took full advantage to cross the line again, with the conversion making the score 14-7.
Douglas then added a penalty and tried to kill the game off by launching wave upon wave of attacks, but Oswestry held firm and released the pressure with Howell kicking into space and Sam Martin driving his way between the backs to give his fly-half the chance of an easy conversion.
Oswestry again laid siege to the Douglas defence as the clock ran down, but were forced to taste defeat for the first time since October.
See this week's Advertizer for more on Massam's move to the North Wales Crusaders.