Shimmin Wilson Manx Shield
After a longer than normal lay-off, the domestic rugby competitions get underway this weekend with the return of the Shimmin Wilson Manx Shield.
The big news this season is that there’s a new side in the league, in the form of a rejuvenated Western Vikings.
During the summer former Viking Mike Sheeley kick-started the process of getting the club up and running again and, with a host of new players and a good dash of enthusiasm, the sleeping rugby giant of the west is now awake.
Vikings, however, will have to wait for their debut game as they are the seventh club in the league and will sit out week one.
Defending champions PDMS Southern Nomads start with a tricky game at home against Vagabonds B. Nomads have a new skipper this season in the form of centre Harry Brereton and he has already led the men in green to an early Cheshire Plate win at Holmes Chapel. I suspect that Nomads will once again be the team to beat in the Shield and Vagas will have their hands full.
Ean Mousley rejoins Nomads from Vagas and his presence may add a little spice to the game.
Douglas B also start with a home game against Ramsey B. Jim Lantry’s blues blew hot and cold last season and will be looking for more consistency this time around. Both sides, however, may be suffering from university departures and, while this could go either way, I fancy Douglas may just sneak it.
In the final game of the round Castletown host Emerging Nomads at Poulsom Park. Town will be looking to improve on what was a poor season for them last year. Nomads on the other hand finished quite strongly and will want to build on that.
South Lancs/Cheshire Div Two
After a rare away win in week one of the season, Ramsey get their home campaign underway in South Lancashire/Cheshire Division Two with a visit from Southport, one of the oldest clubs in the country.
Southport have had a mixed start to the season. They went down away at Dukinfield in week one but bounced back last week with a home defeat of early strugglers Oldershaw. They will be keen to pick up some away points and skipper Gareth Lang will have one eye on the trip to Ramsey as a possible source.
Last season in the same fixture Ramsey pulled off a 31-18 bonus point win and a repeat of that would be a great boost for the northerners after their gritty away win at Buxton in week one.
Ramsey will be hoping to welcome back Max Singer and John F. Watling into their second row and Rory Nicholson will be bidding for a return to first team action after he missed the Buxton trip. Also available will be veteran prop Dave Hinks and this should make life tough for the selectors, especially in the front row.
What will start to trouble Ramsey is the beginning of the academic year in the UK and they will be missing the likes of Jarred Callister and Ali Trace among others as and when their university courses start. Kick off is 2pm.
South Lancs/Cheshire Division Two
Ramsey v Southport @ Mooragh Park ko 2pm
Buxton v Vagabonds @ Buxton
Moore v Douglas @ Moore
Shimmin Wilson Manx Shield all ko @ 2.15pm
Douglas B v Ramsey B @ Port-e-Chee
PDMS Southern Nomads v Vagabonds B
@ King Williams College
Castletown v Emerging Nomads @ Poulsom Park
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Weather for Isle of Man
Thursday 23 May 2013
Temperature: 6 C to 10 C
Wind Speed: 38 mph
Wind direction: North west
Temperature: 6 C to 14 C
Wind Speed: 24 mph
Wind direction: North