After a seemingly endless summer, local rugby fans will be able to slake their thirst once again this weekend when the rugby union season bursts back into life.
The action in both the English clubs’ championships and the Shimmin Wilson Manx Shield gets underway on Saturday with some intriguing games in both.
Local interest in the north west leagues comes through newly-promoted Douglas in South Lancashire/Cheshire Division One and Ramsey and Vagabonds in Division Two.
Douglas will be up against some of the biggest and most famous names in northern rugby including former giants New Brighton and Manchester.
They have also added to their squad over the summer with Shaun and Lance Wyllie joining them from Ramsey.
There is no transfer news from Vagabonds, but Ramsey have additionally lost Andy Wilson and Peter Verrall to UK clubs and former player of the year Fintan Cummins who is looking to play football.
They have, however, added Ben Barlow to the squad who will be a useful back row/second row option.
Ramsey face a testing start away at Bowdon who were relegated last season and put in a 40-0 demolition of Dukinfield in the Cheshire Bowl just two weeks ago.
New skipper John F. Watling will lead the team on Saturday and will run out in his 98th league appearance for the club in this challenging first fixture.
South Lancs/Cheshire Division One
Douglas v Ruskin Park @ Port-e-Chee ko 2.45pm
South Lancs/Cheshire Division Two
Bowdon v Ramsey @ Bowdon
Port Sunlight v Vagabonds @ Port Sunlight
Shimmin Wilson Manx Shield
Vagabonds B v Southern Nomads
@ Ballafletcher ko 2.15pm
Ramsey B v Castletown
@ Mooragh Park ko 2.15pm
Emerging Nomads v Douglas B
@ King William’s College ko 1.45pm
l Reports in Monday’s Examiner.