Vagabonds’ men and women rugby sides kick off their league seasons this weekend with trips to Ellesmere Port and Chester Devas respectively.

The men are in Counties Four ADM Lancs/Cheshire this season and are no strangers to Ellesmere Port. The two have met six times in the leagues and are evens at three apiece, but Ellesmere Port did do the double over Vagas last season when winning home and away. While Vagas have yet to start their campaign, their opponents are one game in and suffered a 35-10 defeat away at Ashton Under Lyme two weeks ago.

With the Rugby World Cup now in full swing, it’s difficult to say whether this result was a blip, but Ashton were third last season and only two wins away from promotion which means they could be a form team.

Vagas though have a wealth of talent: Matt Rockwell and Mitch Wells up front, Mark Oldfield in the back row and new vice-captain Dan Bonwick pulling the strings at 10 all mean that the team on its day has the winning mindset.

Similarly to the men, Vagas Women have met their opponents a number of times over the years: 14 in total with Vagas claiming eight, six ahead in the win stakes. But the Devas did win twice last season, albeit in very tight games.

No matches have yet been played in Women’s NC1 North West so there’s no current form to gauge. Last season Southport and Halifax took the promotion spots but behind them there were only five points separating the next three which included Vagas and Chester.

The Vagas squad has been training hard but could be affected by the World Cup. Corinna Daly reportedly retired at the end of last season, but Sophie Henry showed excellent form with ball in hand and could be a replacement to provide the va va voom when it’s needed.