ORMSKIRK made the long trip to the Isle of Man to take on Vagabonds looking to avenge their loss earlier in the season and leap-frog the Manx side in the league table.
Again suffering through injury and unavailability, the 17-man squad battled hard but a lack of composure and poor discipline ultimately cost them victory at what is a traditionally hard place to win.
The game started well for ‘Kirk when, after withstanding a period of pressure from the home side, a break out of defence led to the opening try of the game.
After Ryan Purcell had just failed in his bid to score, the ball was recycled and the returning centre Ben McCarthy decided to go himself and managed to ground the ball under pressure from two defenders, Alex Lambie converted. Most of the first half was played in the middle third of the pitch, Vagabonds always looked dangerous close to the breakdown with the bigger pack continuously crashing the ball in around the fringes but ‘Kirk’s defence was solid, led by some big hits from hooker Mark Webster.
Unfortunately for Ormskirk, after Vagabonds had already converted a penalty, one defensive lapse was all it took for the home side to take the lead, their fly-half breaking a tackle to run in under the posts, a try that was converted.
Vagabonds soon added another penalty and led 13-7 after 30 minutes play. Back came Ormskirk and piled the pressure on Vagabonds for the remainder of the half, resulting in three penalties within kicking range, two of which were converted by Lambie, making the score 13-13 at half-time.
The second half was a scrappy affair that was unfortunately halted on a regular basis by the referee’s whistle, stopping any flow developing.
An early Vagabonds penalty got their noses back in front, only for Lambie almost immediately to notch his 3rd penalty of the day to get back on level terms.
Then came what turned out to be the decisive moment of the game with a hotly disputed try for the home side.
Ormskirk had infringed at the line-out and were quite rightly penalised but the resulting tap penalty appeared to be taken out of sight of the referee and a good distance away from where the incident took place.
The resulting try was allowed to stand and Vagabonds led by 5 points. The referee then awarded Ormskirk a series of penalties that allowed them to gain field position and kick for points.
Lambie converted one of his two attempts and the passed on the kicking duties to James Illingworth, whose long range kick sailed between the posts to put ‘Kirk back in front with time running out. It was now Vagabonds turn to be given a succession of penalties and after their impressive scrum-half had missed with two tricky attempts, he made no mistake with a third to get his side back in front.
This proved to be a lead they wouldn’t relinquish as they held on for the victory.
ORMSKIRK now look forward to this Saturday’s trip to Wallasey for a re-arranged league fixture hoping to improve on their patchy recent form.