The last weekend of Ulster Bank League action before the Christmas break and a chance for clubs to enjoy a well-earned rest. There’s a big Ulster derby in prospect that could have a big effect on the top four as leaders City of Derry travel to third placed Queen’s.
ULSTER BANK LEAGUE: DIVISION 2A: Saturday, December 7
Kick-off 2.30pm unless stated –
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Ballymena (2nd) v Bruff (16th), Eaton Park
A real opportunity for Ballymena this weekend depending on how the game between City of Derry and Queen’s go.
Their win last week over Naas was hard fought but not as convincing as their early season form.
You’d have to back them at home though, against a Bruff side that are without a win so far this season.
Banbridge (14th) v Rainey Old Boys (8th), Rifle Park
The Bann didn’t play last weekend as their game against Galwegians was postponed. That game in hand could come in useful later in the season.
They are at home to a Rainey side that went down to Cashel last weekend.
Form favours the visitors on this one but home advantage in a derby game is a big factor.
Cashel (7th) v Seapoint (10th), Spafields
Cashel’s win on the road saw them move up to 7th, three points ahead of Saturday’s visitors.
Seapoint lost on the road to Old Crescent but held on to 10th place.
The home side have the edge going into this one.
Galwegians (4th) v Old Crescent (13th), Crowley Park
A game in hand is a valuable commodity at this stage of the league, particularly so for ‘Wegians in 4th place.
Old Crescent’s win last weekend was their second of the season and pushed them up to 13th place.
The home side should be strong enough to end 2013 on a high.
Highfield (15th) v NUIM Barnhall (6th), Woodleigh Park
Highfield got their first win of the league last weekend with a 28 – 19 win over Old Wesley – a welcome boost.
This weekend they host NUIM Barnhall, fresh from their varsity win over UCC in the College grounds last Saturday.
Will the win boost Highfield or will their visitors prove too strong?
Naas (12th) v Bective Rangers (11th), Forenaughts
Naas put it up to Ballymena last weekend and took a losing bonus point but they will be hoping for better this weekend.
Bective went down at home to Queens and sit just a point ahead of them in the table.
It could go either way but Naas should do it at home.
Queen’s v City of Derry, Dub Lane
Match of the day in Division 2A as 3rd plays host to 1st in a game that could have a real impact on the top four.
They are separated by just five points and both had good wins last weekend. They have both scored three try bonuses.
Throw in the Ulster derby angle and this could be a cracker.
UCC (5th) v Old Wesley (9th), Mardyke
Both teams lost last weekend which makes this game all the more important as we head in to the Christmas break.
UCC will be hoping to capitalise on results elsewhere if they secure the win, while Old Wesley will be aiming to make up for their loss to Highfield.
Home advantage and general form favour UCC.