Ramsey aim to maintain grip on top spot
Who can stop Ramsey? Thatís the question being asked as the Standard Bank Premiership enters its fourth week.
The northern club have won all their matches by large margins and top the league. They are playing with confidence and flair while most of their rivals are struggling to be consistent.
One such side is Crosby who take on Ramsey this week-end. The Marown club caused a stir when they beat the 2011 champions St Johnís, but then crashed to a heavy defeat at Castletown last week.
Supporters say the team was weakened by injuries and key players being unavailable. On Saturday they will welcome back Island skipper Ricky Kniveton and seamer Dave Picken, but it is unlikely that the injured Joe Rothwell will be fit.
Fired up, Crosby could present a big challenge to Ramsey. However their batting will be severely tested by a very strong attack. Chris McConnell is back to form and Shaun Kelly is taking wickets again. The return of Scott Weaver has been a big plus and the ever reliable Brian Arnold is still a presence.
This should be a good game and one which could hinge on just how well the Marown batting copes with that northern attack.
Castletown look to have shaken off those early season blues. After two opening away defeats, they took all the points in their opening home fixture.
Garreth Roome revelled in his new role as an aggressive opening bat and scored a splendid century. Mark Williams and John Short batted well, while Gareth Morris showed what a power he can be. After a rusty start, he scored an unbeaten 30 and then took 4 -11.
A real test now comes with the visit of St Johnís. Who could have forecast that, after the first three games, the western side would be at the bottom of the Premiership?
They too have been badly hit by injuries and missing players. The fight back will start now and the Town should be braced for a fierce onslaught. It might be too late for the Saints to retain their title, but their pride has been hurt and a determination to correct matters is clear.
All the form books say Castletown should win this game, but it will be a brave man to bet on it! Watch out for a fierce and high scoring encounter.
There is more at stake at Tromode than just bragging rights when Cronkbourne take on Valkyres. The two sides now share the Douglas ground, but a great deal hinges on this fixture.
Cronkbourne are in second place, just two points behind Ramsey. A win on Saturday could propel them into joint top spot if the northerners fail. Valkyres are two points behind them, but have a game in hand.
Their fans are wondering which Valkyres side will turn up for this match. Will it be the one who had that convincing win over Castletown or the eleven who sank to defeat last week.
Although the names on the team sheet were virtually the same, they gave two very different performances. Against Cronkbourne they have a great chance to show if they are going to be title contenders.
On Sunday the Isle of Man Bank junior leagues begin. The Under Nines start their year with a tournament at Castle Rushen. The Manx Youth Games are imminent and this should be an important warm-up for the rival contenders. Play starts at mid-day and everybody is welcome.
© Isle of Man Cricket Association & CricketEurope