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Weekend rugby previews - Cheshire Vase and Manx Shield

by Dave Christian

Ramsey away in vase semi-final
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If there’s no rest for the wicked, Ramsey must have been very wicked!

On a Saturday when there’s a break from league fixtures, Will Keenan’s men take to the road again, this time to Winnington Park in the semi-final of the Cheshire Vase.

Winnington Park is a club based just outside Northwich in Cheshire and they play their rugby a division higher than Ramsey in South Lancashire/Cheshire Division 1.

They’re currently sitting in fourth place, have lost just two of their nine matches and are unbeaten at home.

Yardsticks available to Ramsey include a 36-7 win over Vagabonds and a 46-18 win against Hoylake, the team Ramsey beat in the earlier part of the competition.

The Cheshire clubs do however use the vase as a vehicle for player development and it is possible that Park could field a below-par side.

Ramsey however will be less than full-strength themselves.

Tynan Pritchard is unlikely to travel and other players with travelling difficulties include Lance and Shaun Wyllie.

Fintan Cummins is also unavailable this weekend, which probably means a start in the number ten shirt for Nick McCudden, with Ben Harding taking on the kicking duties.

On paper this is a big ask for Ramsey but it should provide them with a useful benchmark for their performance if nothing else.

It’s also knockout cup rugby and anything could happen on the day.

It would however be something of a surprise if they pulled off a win though.

Shimmin Wilson Manx Shield returns
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After a two-week layoff, the Shimmin Wilson Manx Shield is back in action this weekend.

Leaders Vagabonds B face a tricky fixture against Ramsey B at Glencrutchery Road.

Vagas sneaked the earlier game 15-11 down at Mooragh Park and Ramsey will fancy their chances a little despite being winless so far this season.

Vagas may have some fringe first teamers to help out but Ramsey too may have a couple of non-travellers to bolster the seconds.

It has the makings of a tight game, but Vagas should take the win.

At Port-e-Chee Douglas B will be looking for some revenge over Castletown after losing the earlier fixture at Poulsom Park.

After putting out a makeshift second team last week Douglas should have the luxury of a strong side this Saturday and I suspect the resurgent Castletown may struggle.

Town are however quite a resilient outfit and have defended well apart form the second half of their cup tie with Nomads a fortnight ago.

That said I thing Douglas could just take this.

Finally at King Williams College, it’s the Nomads derby with Southern Nomads meeting their second string Emerging Nomads.

The earlier fixture was a solid win for the firsts and I suspect there’ll be more of the same this time around.

Fixtures
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Cheshire Vase Semi Final:
Winnington Park v Ramsey

Shimmin Wilson Manx Shield:
Vagabonds B v Ramsey B
Douglas B v Castletown
Southern Nomads v Emerging Nomads

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