Vagabonds ladies will travel to face Halifax
Report by Dave Christian:
When things aren’t going your way and you’re at the bottom of the table and two of your nearest rivals pick up wins, the last thing you want is heading into the Christmas party season facing three matches against teams in the top six. That nightmare scenario is happening to Douglas.
They’re bottom of North One West and last Saturday both Broughton Park and Bowdon picked up wins. Douglas now face Stockport, Penrith and Kendal on successive Saturdays.
This week Douglas travel to leaders Stockport who have won eleven from eleven and have fifty three championship points from a possible fifty five. Stockport also have the most potent attack and the tightest defence. Douglas’ last visit was in February 2020 when they lost 45-15.
All that said, the Douglas side is young. Blake Snell, Luke Hyland, Charlie Henthorn and the martin twins are all learning game by game and there’s still a chance for Douglas to turn the season around. Its unlikely to be this weekend though and we should see a Stockport win.
Vagabonds ladies on the road to Halifax
In Womens NC1 North West Vagabonds head to Yorkshire to face Halifax. Vagas are a little behind with their fixtures which leaves them next to bottom in the standings but with games in hand. An opening away draw against Leigh has been their best result so far however they did keep league leaders Preston to a scoreless second half a fortnight ago so they’re clearly capable of giving anyone a run for their money.
They do however had Corinna Daly back. She missed the opening matches with a leg injury and her carries were sorely missed. Her return to the side will give skipper Lauren Ellison some great running options with gamebreaker Jules Harrison outside and Daly inside. If these three can work their magic they can bring home a result on Saturday. Halifax are strong at home but not unbeaten.
There are two catch up matches in the local rugby competitions this weekend. In the Ravenscroft Manx Trophy leaders Ramsey face Douglas Celts at the Mooragh park while in the Ravenscroft Manx Bowl, Emerging Nomads host Western Vikings at Ballakilley Park.
The Manx Trophy has its semi finals next Saturday and with the line-ups pre-determined this Ramsey v Douglas game is something of a dead rubber. It will however be important preparation for the crunch games the following week. Ramsey started their season on fire and recorded big wins in their opening matches. Since then however the pace has slacked somewhat as their rivals started to close the gap. Team selection has also been inconsistent. Tom Moffatt has been missing from the ten jersey and there’ve been a couple of covid absences to contend with too. Douglas on their day have a capable side and a great mix of youth and experience. Conor McCaughan is a lynchpin in the side at number eight and a proven try scorer. Add in Chris Bollen and Danny Creer and you have three reliable anchors in the scrummage. On form, Ramsey should take the points here but it promises to be a little closer than the last meeting. **UPDATE: THIS GAME HAS NOW BEEN CALLED OFF**
The Manx Bowl has no knockout phase and is an old fashioned first past the post league. Ramsey B and Vagabonds are currently in the driving seat but a Vikings win could see them challenging for second place. The Peel men were competitive last Saturday despite losing at Ramsey. Josh Hockney carried well and frequently, the Goodwin brothers were abrasive as ever and Ollie Bowles continued to impress at ten. For Nomads (and to be fair anyone else who’ll let him play) Orry Watterson has good current form and he’ll need to be at his best to nullify the Viking back row. On paper this should be a Vikings win.
Fixtures 4 December
North One West
Stockport v Douglas @ Stockport
Womens NC1 North West
Halifax v Sure Vagabonds
Ravenscroft Manx Trophy
Ramsey P-P Douglas Celts @ Mooragh Park ko 2.15pm
Ravenscroft Manx Bowl
Emerging Nomads v Western Vikings @ Ballkilley Park ko 2.15pm