Douglas and Vagas Ladies return to action on home soil
Report by Dave Christian:
Western Vikings have a great shot at booking a place in the Cheshire Plate final this Saturday when they visit Port Sunlight.
Vikings beat Oldershaw last Saturday and Oldershaw have already beaten Port Sunlight which suggests Vikings may be slight favourites - Sunlight however are in the same regional league as Oldershaw and are fourth with six wins from eleven starts.
As things stand, Vikings have five points and Sunlight have one, two points therefore will confirm Vikings top the pool.
A win or a draw sees them through and there are several additional permutations around a defeat depending on whether they score four tries, finish within seven or deny Sunlight a bonus point.
Ed Knight was the form man last week with three tries to add to his impressive season tally so far. Morgan Armstrong-Paton and Harvey Callister also bagged two each last week.
If Vikings can get a similar side away to the one which beat Oldershaw they’ll have a fighting chance of booking a spot in the final against Ramsey.
Douglas look to take advantage against Winnington Park
Douglas host Winnington Park this weekend in Regional 2 North West and have a great opportunity to steal a march on their close rivals at the bottom end of the standings.
Park are just above Douglas in the standings but have won just one more game. The two teams below Douglas have fixtures against the two top sides and are unlikely to gain points which means that a win for Douglas could create a little bit of daylight for them.
Douglas face those two sides - Kirkby Lonsdale and Liverpool St Helens - on 9 and 16 December respectively and if results go the way of Phil Cringle’s men, they could be well clear of the foot of the table ahead of the Christmas break.
Douglas should be refreshed after a week off and with home advantage too, they should be at full strength. Brad Bowmar and Sam McCord have looked assured at centre and Guy Barrons has been a revelation out wide. If Si Hoddinott and his back can win enough clean ball, Douglas have the back line to take a win
Vagabonds Ladies host Broughton Park
After a four-week layoff Vagas Ladies host Broughton Park at Ballafletcher this weekend in Womens NC1 North West.
Broughton currently sit in pole position in the league table and have lost just one from five in the league so far this season, they’ve also played in three of the last four weekends which means that not only are they good, they’re match fit too.
Vagas by contrast have played four and lost four and are currently bottom of the standings.
The two have met on eight previous occasions and Broughton have won six of those however at their last meeting in February this year Vagas pulled off a 19-12 win at Ballafletcher and with some of the players from that game in the starting line up this Saturday, Vagas have the experience to draw on.
Megan Ryder and Sam Bundock were the go-to players from Broughton on that occasion and both have been regular starters this season and if available will no doubt be the players to watch.
Vagas have a bunch of new players in the squad this season and while results haven’t gone their way so far, they continue to grow with each game.
Greeba Taisia, Ella Goodwin-Jones and Maisie Murray are starting to gel in the front row and Kyla Quayle and Maylyn Campbell in the second. Sammie Macdonald will don the number ten jersey with Jess Swales back into scrum half and Jo Bell in at full back. Taisia, Campbell and Ula Gola are also cousins and will give the game a family feel when they take the field.
The stats show a Broughton Park win but home advantage is a big bonus and a big crowd at Ballafletcher could just give Vagas the lift they need - kick off is at 12.30pm.
Castletown take on Barbarians in Manx Shield
There’s just one game in the Shield this week with Castletown hosting IOM Barbarians in a fixture re-arranged from earlier in the season.
The two sides are next to each other at the bottom of the standings which suggests a close game however much will depend on what players are available from the other clubs to support the Barbarians.
Fixtures - 2 December, 2023
Regional 2 North West
Douglas v Winnington Park @ Port-e-Chee (2pm KO)
Womens NC1 North West
Vagabonds v Broughton Park @ Ballafletcher (12.30pm KO)
Port Sunlight v Western Vikings @ Port Sunlight (11am KO)
Ravenscroft Manx Shield
Castletown v IOM Barbarians @ Poulsom Park (2.15pm KO)