Ravenscroft domestic competitions also continue
Report by Dave Christian:
Douglas away at Altrincham Kersal
Confidence boosted by last week’s home win against Carlisle, Douglas hit the road this week with a 1.00pm kick off at Altrincham Kersal.
Kersal were formed in 1897 as simply Kersal and after several moves around Manchester they settled in Timperley in the late 1960s and became known as Altrincham Kersal. Their most famous ex-player is perhaps former England wing Mark Cueto.
They currently sit in 9th place in North One West and have won just one from seven. That said, they have an incredible nine bonus points and some of their defeats have been very close. Last weekend for example they lost by just five points against unbeaten league leaders Stockport. This all suggests that Douglas will have their work cut out on this trip. Douglas’ last visit to AK was in December 2019 when they lost 27-10.
As always with away trips much depends on player availability. Luke Hyland was the form player last week scoring all of Douglas’ points and he’s played in all their matches so far, as has wingman Kyle Martin and other youngsters Wilf Kermode and Charlie Henthorn. If Douglas can get a little bit of beef on the plane to complement their young talent, they’ll be competitive.
Ravenscroft domestic competitions continue
Both the Manx Trophy and Bowl competitions are scheduled for this weekend but the word from the clubs is “we’re struggling”. Post lockdowns, there appears to be a fall in adult player numbers in the lower levels of the game right across the RFU. Matches at levels Eight & Nine in the RFU structure appear to be affected with unusual numbers of walkovers being awarded and the same malaise has crept into the ADM Lancashire Leagues and the Halbro North West Leagues which sit just outside the RFU’s more formal structure.
The underlying reasons are a little complex and involve a number of factors. As usual, a number players retire each season. This in itself is perfectly natural. The difficulty for 21-22 however is that the young players who would normally fill those gaps, aren’t permitted to play until January 2022. This is an RFU restriction intended to protect those young players who wouldn’t have had any rugby development under lockdown and could potentially be slung into games as adults. Locally, Ramsey’s Jake Richmond falls into this category and despite playing Adult rugby last season he must sit out the “blanket restriction” till January 2022. Other clubs will naturally have their own examples. Additionally, the threat of covid still looms large and while its difficult to gauge what effect this may have, it remains there in the background.
Against this backdrop, when we review the Manx Trophy to date we see where the impact has been felt. Ramsey have pretty much retained a full squad and are thus far dominating. Vagabonds, who beat Ramsey twice last season appear to be up against it. Mark Oldfield is suspended and skipper Luke Purdy picked up an arm injury last week which will see him sitting out for at least a few weeks. They travel to Ramsey this week and while the Northerners will be missing Tom Moffatt they are likely to welcome back Eddie Lord and Connor Cracknell so if anything they could be a little stronger than last week.
In the Manx Bowl, leaders Ramsey B hit the road to Peel to take on Western Vikings who were mightily impressive against Vagabonds two weeks ago. Jack Goodwin and ed Knight caught they eye in the forwards with young ten Ollie Bowles looking in form at the helm. Ramsey should have the experienced Kyle Kenyon available this week with line out weapon Jack Lord also expected to return to the fold.
In the final game, Emerging Nomads take on Vagabonds Hornets assuming both can get teams out. Vagas are unlikely to have an experienced a line up as they did against Vikings but skipper Ian Marks has a few old head he can call on. Rob Pease and Ed Alderson can both change a game.
Fixtures 30 October
North One West
Altrincham Kersal v Douglas @ Altrincham
Ravenscroft Manx Trophy
Ramsey v Vagabonds @ Mooragh Park ko 2.15pm
PDMS Southern Nomads p-p Douglas Celts
Ravenscroft Manx Bowl
Emerging Nomads v Vagabonds Hornets @ Ballakilley ko 2.15pm
Western Vikings v Ramsey B @ QE2 ko 2.15pm