Douglas Rugby Club’snew league campaign gets underway this weekend with Firwood Waterloo visiting Port-e-Chee, writes Tony Wilson-Spratt.
The Regional Two North West table lists several teams new to the division, but the national league opener brings back Firwood to Manx soil in a continuation of some riveting level six contests.
The concluding fixture of last season saw Douglas beat Waterloo 25-17 at home, and starting off in a similar vein would be a real boost for a much-changed Manx side.
Harry Hewson’s move off-island and Bradley Bowmar’s return to New Zealand leave big boots to fill, but the rejuvenation of Blake Snell after long-term injury and continuing improvement by Sam McCord are major plus marks.
Max Fairburn joins the squad and community officer Brett Pyke from New Zealand fills a midfield spot. Up front, Simon Hoddinott remains a key component to Douglas success and coach Phil Cringle has made the pre-season preparation as challenging as possible.
Not given to praise lightly, Cringle is quoted as being impressed by all the squad, especially youngsters Percy Hampton, Jack Shimmin, Connor Garland, Kyle Martin and Callum Dentith. Given a guiding boot from goal-kicker Luke Hyland, Douglas will be in the hunt again.
Vagabonds travel to Dukinfield in Cheshire Bowl
Vagabonds have a little wait before their league campaign starts but they do get going ion the Cheshire Bowl this week with an away game at Dukinfield, writes Dave Christian.
The Manchester side will be playing in the division above Vagabonds this season, but they did meet at Dukinfield last season when Vagas suffered a 46-5 defeat.
Head-to-head, Vagas have the edge with 12 wins from 23 meetings but Dukinfield will likely start as favourites.
Vagas’ league campaign finally gets going on September 23.
Ravenscroft 10-a-side kicks off the domestic season
With the Rugby World Cup looming large, the decision has been taken to start off the domestic season with friendly 10-a-side matches which start this Saturday.
The venue was scheduled to be Castletown’s Poulsom Park ground but it won’t be ready for Saturday .
Therefore, the replacement venue has now been confirmed as Ballakilley Park in Port Erin.
The games will be run on a pitch-up and play basis from 3pm onwards.
Saturday, September 2:
North West Two
Douglas v Firwood Waterloo @ Port-e-Chee ko 2pm
Dukinfield v Vagabonds @ Dukinfield ko 2.15pm
Ravenscroft 10-a-side @ Ballakilley Park ko 3pm
Reports in next week’s Isle of Man Examiner.