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Rugby: Douglas to face Firwood Waterloo in season opener

Ravenscroft Manx Shield also returning this weekend

Report by Dave Christian:

The 2022/23 rugby season kicks off this Saturday with IOM sides in action on both sides of the water. In the newly badged Regional 2 North West, Douglas travel to Firwood Waterloo for their opening league match while domestically the Manx Shield returns with a new look and some surprises in the line ups. Vagabonds Men and Women have a couple or three weeks to wait before their league fixtures get going.

Ravenscroft Manx Shield

This is a traditional first past the post league competition with seven sides taking part. 

Ramsey have two teams as do Southern Nomads. The remaining three are Western Vikings, Castletown and the Eastern Barbarians which comprises players from the Douglas and Vagabonds clubs who don’t have quite enough players to have a team each but can form a side together. 

The other change is that due to the potential mismatch in playing standards, both Ramsey and Southern Nomads have agreed to combine their first and second team squads to each form two teams of fairly equal standard.

This weekend the opening games see Eastern Barbarians hosting Castletown, Western Vikings are the visitors to Ramsey while Ramsey’s second team travel down to Ballakilley to face Nomads’ second team.

Castletown make their return to Ravenscroft after a season out and will be an unknown quantity as will the Eastern Barbarians. 

Ramsey’s Reds take on Western Vikings at the Mooragh and this game will be a real tester for the shuffled squad. 

Vikings blew hot and cold last season while both Ramsey’s teams made finals in the cup and plate respectfully. 

The final game of the day at Ballakilley is nominally a rematch of the Manx Plate Final which Nomads just won. 

Ramseys Blues however have a new captaincy team in Connor Casey and Jared May and they’ll both be keen to start off with a win.

**

Fixtures 3 September

Regional 2 North West

Firwood Waterloo v Douglas @ Waterloo

Ravenscroft Manx Shield all ko @ 2.15pm

Ramsey Reds v Western Vikings @ Mooragh Park

Eastern Barbarians v Castletown @ Ballafletcher

Southern Nomads v Ramsey Blues @ Ballakilley

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