While the Manx Cup has largely sorted itself out, rugby’s Plate competition - which sits underneath it - is going right to the wire.
This weekend sees the final round of scheduled matches in the league phase, with one rearranged game to slot in just after Easter.
All four teams are mathematically capable of qualifying for top spot, which of course gives a home semi-final against the fourth-placed side. Similarly, all four are also capable of finishing fourth.
At Ballafletcher this weekend, Vagabonds Hornets host Ramsey B. The home side are currently top and a win with four or more tries will guarantee them finishing top.
But it is the Hornets’ final game and, with Ramsey meeting Vikings in the rearranged match after Easter, anything less than maximum points could see the Hornets nudged off their perch.
The two sides met earlier in the competition at Mooragh Park when Ramsey ran out 37-22 winners and they will need a similar result if they want a home semi-final. Neil Hulme’s men, despite lifting the Manx Bowl just after Christmas, are currently in that fourth place position.
Over at QEII, Western Vikings host Emerging Nomads in the other game. Vikings snatched a win 29-20 at Ballakilley Park less than a month ago but, with a Covid intervention, haven’t played for three weeks.
Nomads, on the other hand, beat the Hornets a fortnight ago after they had a spectacular discipline collapse. Both sides here need a win with four tries or more and need to prevent the opposition from scoring four tries.
Both games do have one common thread: they’re impossible to call. You would probably fancy Vagas on their home turf and similarly Vikings on theirs. But this competition is that finely balanced, no sensible investor would gamble on either outcome.
Fixtures for Saturday, April 9:
North One West
Kendal v Douglas @ Kendal ko tbc
Ravenscroft Manx Plate
Vagabonds Hornets v Ramsey B
@ Ballafletcher ko 2.15pm
Western Vikings v Emerging Nomads
@ QEII ko 2.15pm
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