Big finale awaits for Vagabonds
Report by Dave Christian:
Douglas host Waterloo at Port-e-Chee on Saturday and while they’re in a stronger position than near neighbours Vagabonds, they’re not quite out of the woods in Regional 2 North West.
Douglas sit in tenth place in the standings with just this match to play. They have a nine-point gap between them and the relegation places but the teams below them have games in hand. Bottom side Wilmslow are away at champions-elect Anselmians tomorrow and look doomed already. The other team however is Broughton Park who have three to play and a home game against Glossop tomorrow. A win there would send jitters through the Port-e-Chee faithful.
This weekend was initially scheduled to be free and Douglas will be missing a couple of regulars. Guy Wood however returns which is great news and there’s an unconfirmed report that Glyn Hooson-Owen will be donning the boots again to provide some ballast in the forwards. Pitch conditions are likely to be heavy so that’s good news too. Kick off is at 1.30pm.
Big finale for Vagabonds
It’s been a tough season for Vagas in Counties 3 ADM Lancs/Cheshire. They lie at the foot of the table with just two wins under the belt and indeed one of those was a walkover after Old Bedians failed to travel. The end is however nigh and despite their results they may yet avoid relegation which is determined by the League organising committee. A positive step for this would be a win this Saturday against Bury at Ballafletcher.
Vagas started their campaign with a 42-11 away defeat at Bury but now have a chance to turn the tables. In December they appointed a new coach, Franzy Germishuys. He was almost rewarded with a home win against Dukinfield on 10 December when Vagas were beaten by a late conversion. They’ve subsequently sign Dan Bonwick from Ramsey. Bonwick had 172 league appearances to his name at Ramsey and can cover multiple positions so was a great acquisition. With the coaching change starting to kick in and some new blood in the ten jersey Vagas have improved and while recent performances haven’t brought the wins they needed to move away from the bottom, they have a new energy about them and although most of the players will be the same, they are a much different team from the one which went to Bury back in September.
There was only one injury concern from last week’s defeat against Hoylake which is Cam Findlay who picked up a thumb injury. He is fit however and will take the field. The forward pack bossed the Hoylake scrummage last week and bagged a penalty try in the process so they’ll have a spring in their step.
Bury have won four from sixteen with Vagas two from seventeen so there’s not that much between them on paper. Vagas nearest rivals Port Sunlight face Dukinfield at home in their final game and Vagas need a Dukinfield win plus a home win for themselves to avoid the wooden spoon.
Two games in Manx Trophy
Here are two matches scheduled in the Manx Trophy’s final round. Nomads Whites host Ramsey’s Blues and Western Vikings while the Eastern Barbarians host Castletown and Ramsey’s Reds at Port-e-Chee. While this is the final round, there have been a number of postponements in recent weeks meaning there are unplayed fixtures and the competition will need to go back to the organising committee to sort out its ending.
This weekend the Blues & Vikings combo should be too strong for Nomads who have struggled in recent weeks. In the other game Ramsey are likely to be the drivers as they’ll bring more players to the pot and should take the points.
Junior rugby also penned in this weekend
While the men’s domestic game is looking a little shaky in places, the Ravenscroft Junior set up is livelier than ever and another round of matches takes place this Sunday, weather permitting of course.
Western Vikings are hosting with the fixtures at QE2 School, Peel. Kick off is a 12.30-1.45pm for U7s to U9s, and 2-3.30pm for U10-12s.
Despite the issues with senior rugby the youth side of the sport seems to be having more numbers than ever before, especially at primary ages. The Manx Youth Games is really helping drive participation for tag at U7&U8s, and girls U9&U10, in particular.
Fixtures 11 March 2023
Regional 2 North West (1.30pm KO)
Douglas v Glossop @ Port-e-Chee
Counties 3 ADM Lancs/Cheshire (2.15pm KO)
Vagabonds v Bury @ Ballafletcher
Ravenscroft Manx Trophy (2.15pm KO)
Southern Nomads Whites v Ramsey Blues & Western Vikings @ Ballakilley Park
Eastern Barbarians v Ramsey Reds & Castletown @ Port-e-Chee