Vagabonds face tough trip at league leaders
Report by Dave Christian:
After three impossibly tough games against the top three sides in Regional 2 North West, Douglas have a run of three winnable games against much lower ranked opposition.
Winnington Park were dispatched last Saturday and this weekend its Kirkby Lonsdale who make the trip to Port-e-Chee.
The Cumbrian club is in bottom spot in the standings and Douglas will be looking for a further five points as they try to climb the ladder from their current tenth spot - a bonus point win could see them up as high as seventh depending on other results.
The two have met already earlier this season with Kirkby taking the game 19-13, Douglas at home though will be a different kettle of fish.
Tough trip for Vagabonds
Vagas head to league leaders Ashton-under-Lyne in Counties 4 ADM Lancs/Cheshire right at the beginning of the annual Christmas party season which historically never produces good results for the travelling team.
Ashton are a point clear at the top of the table but just five ahead of Vagas with a game in hand.
Theoretically, Vagas could take top spot but with second place Colne & Nelson playing a home tie against bottom club Blackpool, it seems unlikely - the RFU computer shows this as the first meeting between then two clubs too so there’s no historic form to look at.
Much will depend on the Vagas travelling squad, injury to Matty Williams and unavailability from Will Taylor suggests Vagas may need Mark Oldfield to deputise at scrum half and there’s a possibility Mitch Wells may not be available too which will put Jack Caine into the front row frame.
More positive news is that Dan Bonwick should return after a knock he picked up at work - if the team is at full strength Vagas may pull off a big result here, but anything less could see them drop points to the two sides above them.
Ramsey away at Dukinfield
Ramsey are keen to keep momentum too and had arranged to play Manchester Medics this weekend in a full-on friendly.
College pitches are however fickle creatures and Medics lost theirs on Monday as the area struggles to recover from last weekend’s weather and fortunately Dukinfield stepped in at the last minute and Ramsey’s air fares aren’t wasted.
The Manchester outfit play in the league above Vagabonds and indeed beat Vagas 45-3 in the Cheshire Bowl.
They were due to play Orrell this week in a league match but a late re-arrangement left them game-less - they won’t be at full strength for this game but should give Ramsey a decent test.
There are no injury worries in the Ramsey squad ahead of the game.
Fixtures 9 December 2023
Regional 2 North West
Douglas v Kirkby Lonsdale @ Port-e-Chee (1.30pm KO)
Counties 4 ADM Lancs/Cheshire
Ashton-under-Lyne v Vagabonds @ Ashton-under-Lyne (12.30pm KO)
Ravenscroft Manx Shield
Western Vikings v IOM Barbarians @ QEII School (2.15pm KO)
Dukinfield v Ramsey @ Dukinfield (1pm KO)