The league resumes this weekend after a two-week gap. There are three rounds of fixtures before the Christmas break and there will be plenty of action as clubs vie to go into the festive season on a high note. This is another notable weekend as the Ulster Bank League returns to Maynooth where NUIM Barnall host Armagh.
ULSTER BANK LEAGUE: DIVISION 2B: Saturday, November 26
Kick-off 2.30pm unless stated –
Ards (15th) v Wanderers (16th), Hamilton Park
It is still early days in the season but this bottom of the table clash has the ring of potential relegation.
Neither side has managed a win in their first five games. Ards’ draw with Suttonians is all that separates them at the bottom of the table.
Both sides are potentially better than their current standing suggest but they need to find a vein of form starting on Saturday, if they are to avoid a long and difficult season in Division 2B.
Boyne (12th) v Banbridge (3rd), Shamrock Lodge
Boyne took a bit of a hammering against fellow promoted side Cashel at the start of the month. They have won two of their five games and are still a handy looking outfit but a win would be welcome.
Visitors Banbridge have lost only one game so far, to the league leaders Cashel. They are a strong side with plenty of experience and should be contenders at the end of the season.
An away win is on the cards, going on current form, but Boyne will be competitive and this could be a cracking game.
Highfield (11th) v Connemara (6th), Woodleigh Park
Three wins from their opening five games is not a bad return for hosts Highfield but their negative point difference and lack of bonus points could tell against them.
Connemara are three points better off thanks to two try-scoring bonuses and a losing bonus and Peter Bracken’s charges have turned into real contenders.
The westerners have shipped a few points in their two losses so consistency is still a key area, but they are doing well and will be hard to beat on Saturday.
Naas (13th) v Sligo (14th), Forenaughts
Naas’ victory over Navan and their losing bonus point has them just ahead of a winless Sligo in the table and they have yet to win at home.
Sligo have had a baptism of fire in the Ulster Bank League but they have managed a losing bonus point in four of their five matches to date.
Saturday is a big game for both sides therefore as they chase a win. Can Naas get a home triumph? Can Sligo get their first win?
Navan (10th) v Cashel (1st), Balreask Old
Nine points separate these teams in the Division 2B standings. Navan have lost three of their five games to date but have secured a losing bonus point in each one and a try-scoring bonus in one of their wins.
Cashel have taken to Ulster Bank League rugby with aplomb, winning all five of their games to date. They also have the tightest defence in the division having conceded an average of just six points per game.
The presence of some very experienced players, such as captain Brendan O’Connor, in the Cashel ranks has no doubt helped their cause and they should be strong enough to continue their winning ways in Meath on Saturday.
Nenagh Ormond (4th) v Sunday’s Well (8th), New Ormond Park
Tipperary against Cork is always a clash worth watching and Nenagh Ormond love nothing better than putting one over on their Cork rivals.
Three wins and a draw to date sees the Tipp side lying fourth in the table and they will be building towards to their big pre-Christmas derby with Cashel.
Sunday’s Well are just three points behind at this stage but are still not convincing. They only beat Ards by five points and scored nearly half of their points to date in that game. A home win is the likely outcome.
NUIM Barnhall (5th) v Armagh (9th), NUI Maynooth
Reflecting the integration of NUI and Barnhall and following a successful game in the University last season, this league encounter takes place on the college campus.
The mix of gritty Leixlip forwards and some flying young college backs seems to be going well with the club in fifth place with three wins under their belt.
New boys Armagh make the trip south and despite losing three of their opening games, they still look to be a handy outfit with two try-scoring and two losing bonus points. Could be an exciting afternoon’s rugby in Maynooth.
Rainey Old Boys (2nd) v Suttonians (7th), Hatrick Park
Rainey enjoyed a big win over Wanderers last time out and with three try-scoring bonus points and 138 points scored they look a potent outfit at this level.
Suttonians are mid-table with three wins and a draw but they have not beaten a team above them in the table yet.
Rainey have only dropped two points in their draw with Nenagh Ormond. They should be strong enough to take a home win on Saturday.