Ravenscroft Manx Cup holders Douglas began the defence of their title with a mid-week win at Southern Nomads and will face old rivals Vagabonds this Saturday in their second game of the week.  

Douglas know that a win will guarantee them a berth in the competition’s final with a game to spare, while Vagas have slightly higher odds to overcome but are still in with a shot. 

The slightly unusual position came about after Ramsey and Vagas drew 10-apiece in the opening game of the tournament. Vagas then beat Nomads 53-0 but Ramsey outdid them with an 82-0 victory of their own.  

This means that, assuming Douglas beat both and neither pick up either a try bonus point or a losing bonus point, qualification for the final will be by points difference. Vagas know that every play could potentially be important for them, as of course will Ramsey on Saturday, April 20 when they meet Douglas in the final qualification game. 

Douglas did have the midweek game but had no match last Saturday when their plane was cancelled, forcing the postponement of their trip to Firwood Waterloo Rugby Club.

By contrast, Vagas had a full-on confrontation with Colne & Nelson in Counties Four ADM Lancashire/Cheshire, but will have had a full week off ahead of this clash.  

The big difference between the two sides is the four-league gap between Douglas in Regional Two North West and Vagas in their aforementioned league. Douglas have physically played 20 matches, while Vagas have only notched up 13.

Therefore, the additional game time at the higher level will surely put Douglas at an advantage going into Saturday’s clash.

Both sides have their key players. Si Hoddinott will lead Douglas from the front and is so important for them in set piece and loose play. They have an experienced half back pairing in Kyle Marin and Luke Hyland, and a back line which can strike from anywhere.  

Faced with firepower like that, Vagas will have a huge defensive shift and player/coach Daryn Thompson could be just the man to lead it. Daniel Bonwick didn’t play last week but if fit an available his tackling could be vital for them down the 10 channel. 

These two don’t meet very often and, while Vagas look a little outgunned on paper, the players could rise to challenge on Saturday. 

Saturday, April 13: 

Ravenscroft Manx Cup 

Douglas v Vagabonds @ Port-e-Chee ko 2.15pm