SOUTH LANCASHIRE AND CHESHIRE DIV TWO
While Ramsey have a battle on their hands, all eyes will undoubtedly be fixed on Ballafletcher where last season’s Manx Cup finalists Douglas and Vagabonds meet in South Lancashire and Cheshire Division Two on Saturday.
With unquestionably the most intense rivalry in Manx rugby, these two near neighbours will slug it out for the first of a possible three times this season.
They have another league match yet to play and could well meet in the semi final of the Manx Cup if Vagabonds can get past Southern Nomads.
Despite home advantage for Vagabonds, Douglas probably start as pre-match favourites (for what that’s worth).
They are ahead of Vagas on the standings and have a 100 per cent record so far.
Vagas are only just behind them though and have lost just once in seven outings. Crucially, however, that was at home and with hindsight, it was a game which they could have won.
Both sides should be able to field pretty similar line ups to last Saturday.
Douglas are likely to retain Niall Killey in the centres for continuity, but could be tempted to use him at number eight to give some added vavoom to the forwards against what is a quite dogged Vagabonds pack.
Outside the forwards, Vagabonds have the luxury of multiple choice at half-back where Jonny Beckley, Leigh Kennaugh and Aiden O’Shea can interchange positions very easily.
Last season’s Manx Cup final was an absolute epic and I’m expecting another classic this week.
Home advantage will count for very little and I’ll favour the form book and back Douglas for the win.
Whatever the result, league leaders Sefton know that this could be their chance to pull clear at the top, before Douglas and Vagabonds get their games in hand played.
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Weather for Isle of Man
Friday 24 May 2013
Temperature: 6 C to 14 C
Wind Speed: 26 mph
Wind direction: North
Temperature: 7 C to 13 C
Wind Speed: 10 mph
Wind direction: South west