There is some exciting rugby being played at the top of Division 2B with nine try-scoring bonus points shared out amongst the top four sides. Match of the day is probably the visit of fifth-placed Banbridge to high flyers Rainey Old Boys.
ULSTER BANK LEAGUE: DIVISION 2B: Saturday, December 3
Kick-off 2.30pm unless stated –
Ards (14th) v Cashel (1st), Hamilton Park
Another season of struggle for Ards as they remain in the bottom half of the table with one win and one draw to their name.
League leaders Cashel have taken to the Ulster Bank League like the proverbial duck. Six out six and two try-scoring bonuses and the Tipperary men are certainly motoring.
They may have one eye on the Tipp derby next weekend, but their boss Ian Dunne will not let them lose focus this Saturday. An away win is on the cards.
Armagh have been finding their feet in the Ulster Bank League and this weekend they host fellow promoted side Boyne.
The Drogheda side travel north on the back of an encouraging win over Banbridge last weekend.
Armagh look like a side that could click – two try-scoring and two losing bonuses show they have it in them. A home win would see Armagh leap over Boyne. Tough one to call though.
Highfield (6th) v Naas (15th), Woodleigh Park
Highfield are hanging in there just outside the top four. Their four wins in six games is the same as the three teams ahead of them but their negative points difference puts a different gloss on things.
Naas are really struggling so far this season – their win over Leinster rivals Navan the only one to date.
The Cork side are in form and enjoyed a good victory last weekend over a revived Connemara outfit. A repeat of that display should see them take the points on Saturday.
Nenagh Ormond (4th) v Navan (12th), New Ormond Park
Four wins and a draw is a healthy return from six games for Nenagh Ormond but they will not like playing second fiddle to their local rivals Cashel.
Navan were well beaten by one Tipperary side last weekend and they could struggle again this Saturday at New Ormond Park.
Navan have managed three losing bonus points so far but the home side look much stronger and are expected to chalk up another win here.
Rainey Old Boys (2nd) v Banbridge (5th), Hatrick Park
Just what you need when you are only in second on points difference – an Ulster derby against a fifth-placed side smarting from a loss of form last time out.
Rainey Old Boys have been very impressive this season, notching up four try-scoring bonuses in five games. Their one draw means they have yet to lose in the league this season.
Banbridge will be looking to bounce back after a loss to Boyne last Saturday. The win would have seen them in third place. An intriguing tie therefore and we will go for Rainey on current form.
Sunday’s Well (10th) v Connemara (7th), Musgrave Park
Both sides have the exact same win loss ratio – three and three – but Connemara’s two try-scoring bonuses have them two points and two places better off.
Both Sunday’s Well and their Galway visitors lost on the road last weekend also, so there is a nice synchronicity to this game.
Can Connemara continue their changed fortunes? The ‘Well are one of those teams you just have to beat to thrive in this division as they know all about survival.
Suttonians (8th) v NUIM Barnhall (3rd), JJ McDowell Memorial Grounds
The Sutton side are mid-table with three wins and a draw under their belts. The games before Christmas can make you comfortable if you get the points.
On Saturday they face NUIM Barnhall, fresh from a big win over Armagh in the grounds of the college campus.
Four wins, two try-scoring bonuses and crucially two losing bonuses show that the Maynooth/Leixlip club mean business. An away win is on the cards.
Wanderers (16th) v Sligo (13th), Merrion Road
Wanderers are a club in crisis on the pitch. Not even the surrounds of tthe Aviva Stadium have inspired them to a win in the league to date. Their only points have come from three losing bonuses.
Like Armagh and Boyne, Sligo are finding the going a lot tougher in the Ulster Bank League.
Coach Simon Cahill will be hoping for more of the same this weekend after Sligo’s 30-point haul against Naas last time out.