Rugby: Battle for top spot in Manx Plate takes centre stage

Friday 11th March 2022 4:00 pm
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Manx Cup rugby: Douglas Celts v Vagabonds (Dave Kneale/Isle of Man Newspapers )

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With the cup competition taking a week off, attention focuses on the Manx Plate which is turning into quite a nice four-way battle.

After three rounds of matches Vagabonds Hornets and Western Vikings are tied at the top on 11 points with two wins from three.

Tucked in behind though are Ramsey B and Emerging Nomads who are both on six points.

This weekend will help sort the wheat from the chaff with Vagabonds travelling to Western Vikings and Ramsey heading south to face Emerging Nomads in two ties which could create some obvious gaps in the standings.

The Hornets have slipped up only once so far, losing to Ramsey B at the Mooragh.

That aside, their youth and experience blend is working well for them and, crucially, they’ve beaten Vikings each time they’ve met so far this season, albeit by small margins.

Vikings at home will be a tough nut to crack.

Skipper Ed Knight can play forwards or backs and inspires his team no matter where he starts and the smaller QEII pitch in Peel suits their direct style of play.

At Ballakilley Park, Ramsey B will attempt to emulate their first team who won there last week.

There are a number of injured players who may be looking to come back this weekend.

Eddie Lord hasn’t played since mid-November and Josh Corteen has been out for more than one month.

Two new Ramsey signings could also get starts. Paul Carine looks competent on the flank and Matthew Reed could come in at wing or fullback.

On paper, Vagabonds should take the points at Peel and at Ballakilley it is likely to be a Nomads win.

Fixtures: Saturday, March 12

North One West

Douglas v Wilmslow @ Port-e-Chee ko 1.15pm

Women’s NC1 North West

Vagabonds v Chester Devas @ Ballafletcher

ko 2pm tbc

Ravenscroft Manx Plate

Western Vikings v Vagabonds Hornets

@ QEII ko 2.15pm

Emerging Nomads v Ramsey B

@ Ballakilley Park ko 2.15pm

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