Weekend rugby preview
Douglas face tough game at Altrincham
There are no easy away games so Douglas know exactly what to expect away at Altrincham Kersal this Saturday in North One West. A couple of recent defeats have seen Douglas drop from fourth to ninth. A stat analysis however shows that AK have won and lost the same number of games as douglas and the difference between the two is simply down to bonus points. AK have 12 to Douglas’ 7.
The important factor for this game will be player availability. Just as we move into the Christmas party season is always tricky for Saturday games. Douglas have had a firly consistent squad but will need all their big guns firing if they want some points from this one.
Ramsey’s final game of 2019
Ramsey travel to Ellesmere Port on Saturday in Lancs/Cheshire 1 for their final fixture of 2019, a year which started well but hasn’t quite ended as in the same way. At the turn of the year the club were in pole position for winning their first championship since joining in 2008 and indeed took the title. A league restructure however meant that some of the opposition was stronger than anticipated. On top of that losing Mark Oldfield, Anthony Fergusson, Fintan Cummins and skipper Henry Swithinbank plus university commitments for Adam Dunlop and Harri Radford and family commitments for Dan Bonwick, left the title winning team a little thin on the ground. They head into the Christmas break in bottom position in the league.
On the plus side, Rory Nicholson has been in excellent form and youngsters Dan Richmond, Conor Goodall, Steve & Kieran Kneale and Harry Parsons are all stepping up to the plate and Nathan Hinks has settled in well at hooker. Bonwick and Dunlop have returned for home and away games respectively and in recent weeks hooker come wing Chris Hardisty has been outstanding. Home results have been largely positive affairs and there have been a few games where a win was close. This season’s split league affair may give Ramsey a better chance after the league splits in February.
This week’s trip to Ellesmere Port will be tough too. Port definitely looked beatable at the Mooragh but they’re tough away. John F Watling and Scott Kneale are likely to remain absent with injury. Ali Trace may make a guest appearance though and skipper Eddie Lord is back to full fitness after illness. Ramsey won away at Port last season, however a repeat, at least this weekend seems unlikely.
Two domestic games on the card
The domestic sides will also have their final games of 2019 this week with two games scheduled, one in the Manx Shield plus one in the Manx Plate.
In the Shield, Douglas Celts top the standings but have no fixture. In the chasing group Southern Nomads play Western Vikings at King Williams College. This game will be for six championship points. The earlier match was postponed and Vikings have agreed to go “all in” on this game. Maximum points will see Nomads jump up the table with the win which is surely coming.
The Plate game is however a little more intriguing. Ramsey B travel to Vagabonds Hornets for their second meeting in the competition. A strong Vagas side won the reverse fixture at the Mooragh and Ramsey have struggled a little ever since. The forthcoming Christmas break may however see some returning students which could just assist Ramsey who could do with a win to propel them up the table a little.
Fixtures 14th December
North One West
Altrincham Kersal v Douglas @ Altrincham
Ellesmere Port v Ramsey @ Ellesmere Port ko 2.00pm
PDMS Southern Nomads v Western Vikings @ King Williams College ko @ 2.15pm
Vagabonds Hornets v Ramsey B @ Ballafletcher ko 2.15pm