Weekend rugby preview
Douglas home to Broughton Park
Douglas currently sit fourth in North One West while their visitors this weekend are eleventh. Make no mistake though, this is a tight Division and just one win separates the two clubs. Douglas’ recent form has been excellent however there will be a couple of squad changes for them to contend with. Carl Murray, Niall Killey and Bryn Snellgrove all sit out. Shaun Wyllie continues at nine, James Maddrell steps in at fifteen to replace the injured Murray and Paul Leivers drops into the pack. Pitch conditions are likely to be heavy but Douglas need maximum points from the game and should get them.
Ramsey host Ellesmere Port
After a somewhat inauspicious start to the season Ramsey host Ellesmere Port at the Mooragh this Saturday in a game which may be a little less challenging than their previous outings. Both teams were promoted from Division Three last season but with the departure of several Lancs Clubs from the Championship, the Divisions contracted and have pitched Ramsey into a very tough league featuring a number of sides who are clearly a big step up. This coupled with the loss of a few key players have seen Ramsey’s results hit something of a cliff edge. Ellesmere Port however are in much the same boat and there’s just a glimmer of optimism that this weekend may just give a much needed shot in the arm.
Ellesmere have won twice however and are clearly showing the better form. They beat Ramsey’s fellow strugglers Birchfield and also won away at New Brighton. This means they will start as clear favourites for the points.
Ramsey should welcome back prop Michéal Flynn after week off with work commitments. Last year’s talisman Dan Bonwick has been available for home matches and will provide vavoom to the side whether in the forwards or backs. Ethan Benjamin also returned last week and word on the street is that Dave Keenan may just have recovered from a shoulder injury which has plagued him for over a year. These experienced heads back in the side may just be the ticket as they take on a side which they beat home and away last season.
Oswestry visit Vagabonds
Vagas face leaders Oswestry in the early kick off at Ballafletcher and will be aiming to knock them off their perch in Lancs/Cheshire Division 2 and with the teams in second and third playing each other Vagas could be top of the table come full time. Rob Keelan returns from holiday to bolster the pack and in the back line the try machine Steve Gawne aims to continue his try in every game run.
A home draw against Liverpool University suggests that Oswestry aren’t totally on song this season however they do have the most potent attack and the meanest defence in the league so will be no pushovers.
Vagas Ladies in home action again
After a huge defensive effort against Sale last Saturday Vagas Ladies host Broughton Park this weekend in a rare run of home matches. Broughton Park currently sit second in Womens NC 1 North West but as yet haven’t really been tested, something which is about to change.
The tight five just about held its own last week and gave Corrina Daly a good platform to launch from. Rachel Beckley buzzed around the park at half back and her link with stand off Lauren Ellison will be vital. The stats suggest Broughton Park are the form side but they will have their work cut out against Vagas at Ballafletcher.
Castletown v Western Vikings is the pick of the Manx Shield
The closest game on paper this week in the Manx Shield is at Poulsom Park where Castletown host Western Vikings. Town have a win under their belt already this season and should be a close match for Vikings who picked up a Manx Plate last Saturday and should be full of enthusiasm despite not having completed a Shield fixture yet. The Viking pack was its usual combative self last Saturday but it was full back Harry Dawson who caught the eye. His goal kicking was impressive and a forty five metre effort came back off a post with a resounding clang which indicated he had the power for the long range shot. Mick Shipley has been Town’s form man so far, bagging twenty six points in two games and he’ll be one to watch. If Vikings approach this game with full strength, they should be good for a win, anything less though and Town will take it.
Elsewhere in the Shield, the auld firm of Douglas Celts and Vagabonds B meet at Port-e-Chee. Douglas will start as clear favourites after their excellent win against Ramsey last week in the cup. Vagas did show some early Shield form but are likely to struggle this week. Finally, Ramsey B make the long trip South to King Williams college to take on defending champions Southern Nomads. Despite losing three from three Ramsey are very capable of stringing phases together and Nomads shouldn’t take them lightly. That said, a Nomads win is still the likely outcome.
19 October 2019
North One West
Douglas v Broughton Park @ Port-e-Chee ko 2.00pm
Ramsey v Ellesmere Port @ Mooragh Pak ko 1.30pm
Vagabonds v Oswestry @ Ballafletcher ko 1.00pm
Womens NC North West 1
Vagabonds v Broughton Park @ Ballafletcher ko 2.15pm
Manx Shield all ko 2.15pm
Castletown v Western Vikings @ Poulsom Park
Douglas Celts v Vagabonds Hornets @ Port-e-Chee
PDMS Southern Nomads v Ramsey B @ King Williams College