Weekend rugby preview
Douglas host league leaders Wilmslow
Table topping Wilmslow visit Port-e-Chee this weekend and present Douglas with a great opportunity to climb the North One West table. Douglas currently lie fourth and with second and third playing each other, Douglas could gain a place and failing that, they could certainly close the gap to the top. They do however have some almost inevitable squad changes to cope with. Carl Murray’s spell on the sick list continues and Paul Leivers isn’t available. Harry Rayven will drop to second row with Ben Klaasens replacing him at prop. Youngsters Blake Snell, Joe Corkish and Ciaran Sherrard are all likely to feature from the bench as Douglas look to make it five wins on the bounce. Wilmslow’s only loss so far this season was away at Penrith where Douglas won with a bonus point so the Manx side will head into the game with a little spring in the step. KO at Port-e-Chee is 3.00pm.
Ramsey face daunting trip to Orrell
After a workmanlike performance last Saturday Ramsey face a very tough trip indeed when they hit the road to face Lancs/Cheshire 1 leaders Orrell. The famous old Club almost won what is now the Gallagher Premiership in 1992. They lost their final game by a point and lost the title by a point in the process. The Club’s fall from grace has been well documented and in recent years they’ve been part of the North West Section of the English Clubs Championship and have regularly played Isle of Man opposition.
This season in Lancs/Cheshire 1 they boast a 100% record with five wins from five outings and are widely fancied for the title. They put fifty four past New Brighton last Saturday, a team which walloped Ramsey earlier in the season. Ramsey conversely are winless thus far as they struggle to adapt to life without a few players and against higher standard opposition.
Injuries will be a factor for Ramsey this week with Sam Corlett, Dave Keenan and Henry Swithinbank all nursing shoulder problems. Dan Bonwick, Matt Meechan and Ben Harding are also unlikely to travel with will cause the coaches some head scratching during the week. Adam Dunlop is likely to return at prop, which would allow Jarred Callister a start in the back row and free up Harry Parsons for the back line. Conor Goodall can step in from wing and perhaps a shout for Stevie Kneale may be on the cards. The men in red and black will give it their best shot however this is likely to be an Orrell win.
Vagas travel to Newton le Willows
Vagabonds sit second in Lancs/Cheshire 2 and face Newton le Willows this Saturday. NLW have just one win from three outings and in one of their defeats they shipped an incredible 106 points away at Oswestry. Leaders Old Bedians don’t play this week so a win will put Vagas at the top. Kev Birchall returns to the front row and James Skillicorn looks likely to start on the flank. The Steve Gawne try bubble finally burst last week but he’s likely to retain his place in the back line and Matty Williams is set to return at scrum half with Johnny Beckley reverting to the ten jersey. With Newton having the poorest attack and the leakiest defence, Vagas will want maximum points from this one.
Vagas Ladies make debut at Burnley
Vagas Ladies meet Burnley for the first time this week in Womens NC 1 North West. Their hosts however haven’t had a great start to the season and have lost all three of their opening matches and are currently averaging a 64 point defeat in every game. Vagas currently sit fourth in the standings and need to get the wheels back on the wagon after two disappoint home results where they claimed two points from a maximum of ten. Their punishing draw with Broughton Park last week has also produced some injury problems and changes to Corrina Daly’s side look inevitable.
Three games scheduled in Manx Shield
There are three games scheduled in the domestic league this weekend, ahead of next week’s world cup final break. At King Williams College it’s the Nomads derby where Southern and Emerging Nomads duke it out in house. Across the road at Poulsom Park, Castletown host Vagabonds B in what could be a tight game and similarly at Mooragh Park Ramsey B host Western Vikings in what should be a close one on paper.
Castletown are on something of a crest at the moment and could pull off back to back wins against a Vagabonds side which started well but has faded recently. Town moved into second place in the Shield standings last Saturday and we did see the name of prolific try scorer Tom Bielich appear on the score sheet for the first time in a while. His return plus Kunal Patel’s form may just be what town need.
At Ramsey, manager Mike Caine will be looking for his troops to rally ahead of an eminently winnable game. Vikings have suffered some player losses over the summer and have only a small squad. There are however no shrinking violets and the forwards in particular will ruffle anyone’s feathers and have already claimed silverware this season.
The final game, at King Williams, will surely be a win for Southern Nomads. Emerging have struggled numbers wise and Southern will want a solid squad performance ahead of a cup clash with Vagabonds next Thursday.
Fixtures 26 October
North 1 West
Douglas v Wilmslow @ Port-e-Chee ko 3.00pm
Orrell v Ramsey @ Orrell ko 3.00pm
Newton le Willows v Vagabonds @ Newton le Willows ko tbc
Women’s NC1 North West
Burnley V Vagabonds @ Burnley ko 11.30am
Manx Shield all ko @ 2.15pm
PDMS Southern Nomads v Emerging Nomads @ King Williams College
Castletown v Vagabonds Hornets @ Poulsom Park
Ramsey B v Western Vikings @ Mooragh Park