It’s semi-final time in the Ravenscroft Manx Cup and Plate rugby competitions this Saturday afternoon.
In the Cup, the withdrawal of Douglas Celts puts Ramsey through to the final via a bye as leaders after the league phase. The remaining place will be fought over by PDMS Southern Nomads and Sure Vagabonds at Ballakilley Park.
In the Plate, Ramsey B and Western Vikings face Groundhog Day at Mooragh Park after the northerners’ win last week, while at Ballafletcher Vagabonds Hornets face Emerging Nomads.
Southern Nomads have met Vagabonds twice in the league stages and won both times: 33-19 at Ballafletcher and 41-12 at Ballakilley. This means that the men in green must start as favourites.
Nomads’ strength is based around half-backs George Collister and Mark Young who together make the team tick. Orry Watterson will give the side his all up front and, outside the pack, youngsters like Tony Quinn and Josh Smith give plenty of pace options.
Vagas have their threats though: Matt Rockwell and Paul Howard are outstanding clubmen and they also have some youngsters on the way through. Expect a tight game here and a Nomads win based on the formbook.
At Mooragh Park in the Plate, an understrength Western Vikings suffered a big defeat last week but were missing a few and I expect we may see Jack Goodwin, Ollie Creasey and possibly Liam Sweeney back for this semi.
Those three will give Vikings a little more vavoom which was noticeably lacking last Saturday. Ramsey’s squad was selected with the final in mind and, with no reported injuries from last week, the selection for this Saturday should be broadly similar.
Fintan Cummins looked sharp for the Blues in only his fourth game of the season and his halfback partner Nathan Robson in just his second senior outing grabbed two tries and three conversions.
Based on last week’s result, Ramsey are favourites for this but if Vikings are back to full strength it will be much much closer.
The final Plate semi is at Ballafletcher. Vagas Hornets are the form team in the Plate and topped the standings, but they will be pushed for personnel this weekend with a first team game also taking place on Saturday.
Similarly, Emerging Nomads will also be at full stretch and this game will be won by the most resilient of the two. The two skippers Ian Marks and Mike Quayle will be working through their phones this week to rally their troops.
Fixtures for Saturday, April 30:
North One West
Douglas v Broughton Park @ Port-e-Chee ko 3pm
Ravenscroft Manx Cup semi-final
PDMS Southern Nomads v Sure Vagabonds
@ Ballakilley ko 2.15pm
Ravenscroft Manx Plate semi-finals
Ramsey B v Western Vikings
@ Mooragh Park ko 2.15pm
Vagabonds Hornets v Emerging Nomads
@ Ballafletcher ko 2.15pm
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