Weekend rugby preview
Ramsey face Congleton at Mooragh Park
Ramsey always knew that life would be a bit tougher after last season’s promotion, however, an exodus of Lancashire Clubs from the Northwest section of the English Clubs Championship led to an inevitable contraction in the size of the leagues and was always going to throw up a mismatch or two.
One of those was last Saturday’s 56-3 defeat away at Hoylake. This week the Congleton Bears visit Ramsey with both teams winless after one match.
Ramsey however prop up the Lancs/Cheshire Division One standings by virtue of their points difference.
With it being a home fixture, skipper Eddie Lord will be without the UK-based Harri Radford and Ali Trace.
Dave Keenan and Ben Harding seem likely replacements in the back line and potentially Neil Long may be back from his holiday to cause a selection headache.
In the pack, Adam Dunlop may be missing which could give either Matt Livesey or Jarred Callister a front row start alongside the now established Nathan Hinks and the redoubtable Michéal Flynn.
Ramsey will be looking for a win here just to pull themselves away from the foot of the table.
The two sides last met at the Mooragh on April Fool's Day 2017, when Ramsey won 10-16 in a tight affair.
The Mooragh faithful will be hoping for more of the same this week in a game which kicks off at 1.30pm to accommodate Congleton’s travel arrangements.
Big two meet in Manx Shield
Douglas Celts and Southern Nomads are currently the two dominant sides in the Manx Shield and their two matches against each other generally determine where the shield goes.
This makes it an “El Clasico” kind of a match whenever they meet and the first time this season is this Saturday, when they lock horns at King William's College.
Both sides are in good form, too; Celts eased past a dogged Ramsey B 46-0 last weekend while Nomads thrashed Vagabonds B at Ballafletcher.
Douglas seem to have a little more consistency in their team selection, with the two standouts being prop Rob Todd and number eight Conor McCaughan.
Todd, like all good tighthead props, has versatility - as well as multiple front row positions he can also play in the back row, and even appeared in the ten jersey a few weeks back.
McCaughan, as well as being a close-range try poacher, has added goal kicking to his resume and is having some success.
Nomads have lost Rob Keelan, which has somewhat dented their firepower, but Orry Watterson can smell out tries and Drew Fleming and Jacob Halstein are also familiar with where the whitewash is.
The man who impressed two weeks ago was wing Gerard Landels.
He never stopped working and ran a great support line for a try.
His wing work was impeccable and whenever he took the ball into contact Nomads retained possession.
In the only other Manx Shield game this week, Castletown host Emerging Nomads at Poulsom Park.
Nomads drew first blood last week when the two sides met in the Manx Plate.
They must start as favourites following that win, but Town always take great pleasure in beating a Nomads side and that may just spur them on.
Fixtures 28 September:
North One West
Keswick v Douglas @ Keswick
Ramsey v Congleton @ Mooragh Park (k/o 1.30pm)
Mossley Hill v Vagabonds @ Mossley Hill
Manx Shield (k/o @2.15pm)
PDMS Southern Nomads v Douglas Celts @ King William's College
Castletown v Emerging Nomads @ Poulsom Park