THE latest Isle of Man Newspapers’ Team of the Week sees five make their seasonal debut in the nation’s favourite hypothetical XI after impressing in Saturday’s latest round of matches in the Canada Life Premier League.
This week’s raft of débutantes takes the number of players earning TotW call-ups this top-flight campaign to a staggering 102. Not bad going considering the majority still have at least six games left to play.
Heading the list of first-timers is Castletown goalkeeper Jake Sansbury. The Stadium stopper produced several good saves including to a wonder stop from Aaron Hawley as he tried his best to deny 1-2 winners Rushen in the derby game’s second half.
Sansbury’s Stadium stable-mate Kevin Cain also impressed as Town tried to hang on for a precious point only to be denied by Chris Shimmin’s 84th-minute winner.
Joining the former Pulrose man at the back is two more making their first TotW appearances of the campaign.
St John’s defender Sam Ingham helped his side to a clean sheet as they overcame a battling Union Mills 1-0 to maintain their lofty second place in the league standings.
There’s also a poignant first call-up for St George’s Liam Cowin who just days after the death of his brother Gareth produced a battling performance as the league leaders overcame Ramsey 0-2 on an emotional afternoon in the north.
In midfield, Cowin’s Geordies’ team-mate Sam Caine also makes his 2012-13 TotW league bow after the former Union Mills flyer bagged a goal as the Grand Slam hopefuls maintained their four-point lead at the table’s summit.
Also on the scoresheet at the weekend was Old Boys winger David Quirk, who struck both goals in the Blackberry Lane outfit’s impressive 1-2 at St Mary’s.
Quirk’s double, a header and a scorching free-kick, put Brian Gartland’s side in the fixture at the Bowl’s driving seat only for defender Tommy Miller to then receive his marching orders leaving the visitors with 10 men for the best part of 50 minutes.
Old Boys absorbed the second-half St Mary’s pressure to claim their sixth win on their bounce and maintain an impressive away record that has seen them beaten just once away from home this league season.
Quirk’s skipper Craig Stewart also makes this week’s line up for his part in the Gartland’s charges win. Completing the five-man midfield is Laxey’s Paul Rowley and Rushen United’s Stephen Riding.
Rowley earns his third TotW stripes of the season after starring in the Miners’ 1-4 away win at bottom side Marown, while wing wizard Riding was in Man-of-the-Match form as Rushen claimed the southern bragging rights in the ancient capital.
Up front there’s two players who make the TotW XI for a fifth time this Premier League season.
Laxey hot shot Ash Webster was among the goals as his side put Marown to the sword 1-4, while Old Boys Callum Stewart was a constant threat on the counter-attack as his side continued their recent fine form at St Mary’s.
This week’s refereeing honours go to Peter Lewis who shone with the whistle during Rushen’s triumph at Castletown.
Team of the Week 02/02/13
Jake Sansbury (C’town) TotW apps this season: 1
Liam Cowin (St George’s) TotW apps: 1
Sam Ingham (St John’s) TotW apps: 1
Kevin Cain (Castletown) TotW apps: 1
Sam Caine (St George’s) TotW apps: 1
David Quirk (DHSOB) TotW apps: 2
Craig Stewart (DHSOB) TotW apps: 2
Paul Rowley (Laxey) TotW apps: 3
Stephen Riding (Rushen) TotW apps: 2
Callum Stewart (DHSOB) TotW apps: 5
Ashley Webster (Laxey) TotW apps: 5
Peter Lewis (Castletown v Rushen) RotW apps: 2