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Rugby: Vagabonds still battling for promotion

Ramsey welcome Nomads in Manx Cup

Report by Dave Christian:

In Counties 4 ADM Lancs/Cheshire Colne & Nelson were crowned champions last week but there’s still a battle for the runner-up spot between Vagabonds and Ashton-Under-Lyne who are locked together in second place on 45 points and Ellesmere Port who are just two points further back. 

Vagas travel to Colne this week while Ashton travel to Ellesmere Port so it really is a shootout at the last chance saloon.

Vagas lost 29-12 in their home fixture against Colne & Nelson who top the stats in nearly every category and have only conceded 24 points in 11 home matches to date and are unbeaten on their home turf, in fact their only defeat this season was away at Ellesmere Port.

This will be a toughie for Vagas - Colne played a very direct running game and this was backed up by a strong set piece. 

Vagas’ set piece has been good this season but when that side of the game has been taken away from them they’ve struggled. 

They’ll be missing Ross Pulman for sure after he was carried off in the home defeat of Ashton two weeks ago, Gavin Turnbull will be able to fill in for him, but there’s nobody quite like Ross for scavenging the ball on the ground and he’ll be a big loss.

That said, there’s plenty of talent in this team - Cal Donnell provides plenty of direct running in the centre and skipper Matt Rockwell will bleed the club colours if cut. 

The pairing of Mark Oldfield and Dan Bonwick also provides extra dimensions to their play - on paper though, it may not be enough, unless of course Colne get too caught up in their league title celebrations and forget the task at hand.

A win with a bonus point should be enough for Vagas however anything less will bring the Ellesmere v Ashton result into the mix and will make life interesting on Saturday.

 

Ramsey host Nomads in Manx Cup

There is a round of the Manx Cup at the Mooragh Park this week when beaten finalists from last year Ramsey host Southern Nomads. 

Ramsey drew 10-10 with Vagabonds in their first game while Nomads lost to Vagas 53-0 - the drawn game raises the spectre of points difference coming into the equation so Ramsey need to beat Nomads by a similar or better margin.

The Northerners may be missing a few regulars too - the Kneale twins Stevie and Keiran, together with Micheal Flynn and Sam Corlett are all off Island, skipper Matt Meechan is nursing a shoulder knock and second row Eddie Lord has an ankle issue. 

This means that Ramsey could be without some of their regular first choices, Nomads’ strength was evident in their recent defeat of Western Vikings, the half backs are solid and Tony Quinn’s pace out wide was a continuous threat.

With Ramsey at full strength, they would be the obvious favourites but this game could be a lot closer than previous meetings might suggest.

**

Fixtures 6 April 2024

Regional 2 North West

Firwood Waterloo v Douglas @ Waterloo

Counties 4 ADM Lancs/Cheshire

Colne & Nelson v Vagabonds @ Colne & Nelson

Ravenscroft Manx Cup

Ramsey v PDMS Southern Nomads@ Mooragh Park (2.15pm KO)

Ladies Friendly

Vagabonds v Aspull @ Ballafletcher (KO TBC)


 

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