Ellesmere Port 0 Douglas 24
ELLESMERE Port kicked off their South Lancs/Cheshire League Two season with a tough home defeat against Douglas on Saturday.
Port, who have made the step up following last season’s promotion, can nonetheless take heart from a committed performance.
From the off, it was clear Douglas were a side to be respected with plenty of pace and well-drilled backs.
The first score came on seven minutes from an interception pass thrown by Port fly-half Chris Carbutt.
After trying to release an attack from within the Port half, the wide pass was pounced on by a Douglas player who raced under the posts, the conversion making it 7-0.
Despite some promising pressure from Port, Douglas scored again with some excellently worked back play to make it 12-0 to the away team after 12 minutes.
This heralded a period of good pressure from Port, who used their forwards to force a series of rucks and mauls within 10m of the opposition line.
The half ended with Port winger Rob Finlay making a good attack on the Port left, only to be tackled into touch by the Douglas winger.
The second half saw Douglas quickly add to their lead with another uncoverted try early on.
Trailing 17-0, Port again had a period of good pressure on the Douglas line through some strong forward play but could not take their chances.
With 20 minutes to go, Port made some changes with Ian Hawkins coming on for injured back-row Rob Hartill, and a father-son switch with Elliot Edwards coming on to replace father Paul.
The game remained a good contest until the final five minutes when Douglas added their fourth try and, along with the conversion, sealed a bonus point win.
Hooker Craig Jones was man-of-the-match for Port, who make the trip to last season’s League Three rivals Crewe & Nantwich for their next league game on September 17.
The players in Ellesmere Port’s junior section are looking forward to a visit from a player and staff from Sale Sharks this Sunday. They will be at Whitby Sports and Social Club from 11am to 1pm.