The curtain finally falls on the domestic rugby season this Saturday with the finals of the Ravenscroft Manx Cup and Plate competitions.
At 1.45pm it’s the Manx Plate final between Ramsey B and Emerging Nomads, before the afternoon is rounded off at 4pm with the Manx Cup final between Ramsey and Vagabonds.
The Plate final promises to be a tight affair. In the two previous Plate meetings, Nomads won at Mooragh Park while Ramsey just sneaked the win at Ballakilley.
Neil Hulme’s northern side have home advantage, not that it counts for much in the Isle of Man, and the club faces some difficult decisions with team selections.
But they have some selection bonuses: Abuu Migoda and Ali Trace are both likely to be on island and Callum Clague’s shift patterns means he can’t make a 4pm kick off, although they will miss Juan Callister who injured a shoulder in a racing accident.
Nomads skipper Mike Quayle should have Percy Hampton available to provide a bit of vavoom around the field and the experience of Al Corrin in the back line will help keep things on track.
The last meeting had a two-point margin, so expect another close encounter here.
On paper, the Cup final doesn’t look quite so close but the trophy is a rather magical piece of silverware and can inspire on its day.
Ramsey must start as clear favourites as the men in red are unbeaten in all competitions this season and are five out of five against Vagas.
Dan Richmond at nine is a points machine and Ramsey’s flyer Brandon Atchison has scored seven tries against Vagabonds this season.
Inside the pack, Ramsey’s player of the year Adam Dunlop is in fine form too and the northerners have threats from all over the team.
Cam Findlay is at the heart of Vagas’ attack and Hope Chirengwa bagged two in the semi-final against Nomads to indicate he’s found some late-season form.
Vagas will need some grafters in the back row though and in Mark Oldfield and Nathan Gibson they have two of the best.
If these guys can hit their straps, Ramsey will have problems but they’ll need to do it consistently for 80 minutes to snaffle the Cup this year.
Saturday, May 14:
Ramsey/Douglas v Vagabonds
@ Mooragh Park ko 12pm
Ravenscroft Manx Plate final
Ramsey B v Emerging Nomads
@ Mooragh Park ko 1.45pm
Ravenscroft Manx Cup final
Ramsey v Vagabonds
@ Mooragh Park ko 4pm
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