Manx Trophy semis take centre stage

Saturday 11th December 2021 11:00 am
Ravenscroft Manx Bowl rugby: Emerging Nomads v Western Vikings at Ballakilley Park ()

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This weekend sees the Ravenscroft Manx Trophy semi-finals rounding off the domestic rugby scene for 2021.

Ramsey host Southern Nomads at Mooragh Park, while Vagabonds entertain Douglas Celts at Ballafletcher.

Ramsey have led the competition from the very start and will be difficult for an improving Nomads team to beat.

The two sides last met only four weeks ago and, while Ramsey won 26-10, Nomads will take some encouragement from that game where they trailed 21-3 at half-time but claimed the second half 7-5.

Nomads have shrewd operators in the forwards and backs. Their half back pairing of George Callister and Mark Young work well together, while in the forwards Orry Watterson provides solidity and stability plus Percy Hampton gives an X factor, causing chaos wherever he roams.

Ramsey boast the two leading scorers in the competition in Dan Richmond and Brandon Atchison, although with the current weather forecast suggesting strong wind and rain the latter may not see enough ball to be fully effective with the exception of a kick-chase.

Ramsey will rely a little more heavily on Matt Meechan at eight and Dan Bonwick at 10 and perhaps look to play a slightly more conservative game.

Either way it will be an intriguing fixture.

At Ballafletcher there’s also an intriguing tie: the two sides have met twice this season and its one win apiece.

Vagas have the bludgeon in Nathan Gibson whose carries have been invaluable to them, while out wide Steve Gawne is a reliable and proven finisher.

But Douglas on their day could prove tough. Jack Shimmin at 10 is a promising talent and, with some experience in the pack to protect him, he could prosper.

Having said that, Douglas have struggled with manpower this season and it remains to be seen what side will be available for the match.

The smart money is on a Ramsey v Vagabonds final on January 8, but it’s now knockout rugby and that can bring its surprises on the day, especially in poor weather conditions.

Fixtures for Saturday, December 11:

North One West

Douglas v Kendal @ Port-e-Chee ko tbc

Ravenscroft Manx Trophy semi-finals

Ramsey v PDMS Southern Nomads

@ Mooragh Park ko 2pm

Sure Vagabonds v Douglas Celts

@ Ballafletcher ko 2.15pm

There were two games scheduled in the Ravenscroft Manx Bowl - Ramsey B v Emerging Nomads and Western Vikings v Vagabonds Hornets - but these have both been postponed.


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