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Rugby: Douglas to host Vagabonds in Manx Cup

Visitors face tough task against defending champions

Report by Dave Christian:

Ravenscroft Manx Cup holders Douglas began the defence of their title with a win at Southern Nomads on Wednesday night and will face old rivals Vagabonds this Saturday in their second game of the week. 

Douglas know that a win will guarantee them a berth in the final with a game to spare while Vagas have slightly higher odds to overcome but are still in with a shot.

The slightly unusual position came about after Ramsey and Vagas drew ten apiece in the opening game, Vagas then beat Nomads 53-0 but Ramsey outdid them with an 82-0 win. 

This means that - assuming Douglas beat both and neither pick up either a try bonus point or a losing bonus point - qualification for the final will be by points difference. 

Vagas know that every play could be important for them, as of course will Ramsey on 20 April when they meet Douglas in the final qualification game.

Douglas did have the midweek game but had no match last Saturday when their plane was cancelled, Vagas had a full-on confrontation with Colne & Nelson but will have had a full week off ahead of this clash. 

The big difference between the two however is the four-league gap between Douglas in Regional 2 North West and Vagas in Counties 4 ADM. 

Douglas have physically played twenty matches while Vagas have only notched thirteen, the additional game time at the higher level will surely put Douglas at an advantage.

Both sides have their key players - Si Hoddinott will lead Douglas from the front and is so important for them in set piece and loose play. 

They have an experienced half back pairing in Kyle Marin and Luke Hyland and a back line which can strike from anywhere. 

Faced with firepower like that, Vagas will have a huge defensive shift and player coach Daryn Thompson could be just the man to lead it. 

Daniel Bonwick didn’t play last week but if fit and available his tackling could be vital for them down the ten channel.

These two don’t meet very often and while Vagas look a little outgunned on paper, the players could rise to challenge on Saturday.


Ravenscroft Manx Cup

Douglas v Vagabonds @ Port-e-Chee (2.15pm KO)


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