The week I have been waiting for since the start of the season is finally here as my favourite team, Cooke Women RFC, play my adopted team Railway Union in the first back to back match as the teams reach the midpoint of the league campaign.

The fixture has added interest from the Ulster perspective as it features the experienced Ulster and Ireland players Larissa Muldoon and Nikki Caughey, at Railway Union, directly up against thier Ulster positional competition Vicky Irwin and Brittany Hogan, at Cooke.

However the match is likely to be decided up front and here the battle between Irish props, Lindsay Peat and Ilse van Staden, is likely to be a titanic clash, both in the tight and the loose. These two talismanic players have been the form forwards in the league this season (alongside UL Bohemian’s Anna Caplice) and it’s a clash I’m looking forward to immensely.

In fact looking down the two team sheets there are interesting clashes all over the park and I’m glad to say that Cooke’s recent form makes this a difficult one to predict. However, Cooke are a team on a steep upward trajectory whereas Railway are pretty much the finished article that only needs a bit of polishing now and again. With that in mind I think that Railway will edge this one to set up a thrilling return in Belfast next week.

In the other matches I expect a comfortable win for UL Bohemian away to Blackrock. The Dublin outfit did record a win last week against Tullamore, but they have still a way to go as they regroup this season, besides,  we all know there’s no point in betting against the Bohs!

The match against Galwegians and Tullamore in Crowley Park should be interesting. Galwegians are still playing in fits and starts but they did score a try bonus in their defeat at Cooke last week so the firepower is still there. However, Tullamore also bagged four tries in their defeat at home to Blackrock though I have to say that the Blue Belles faced a stiffer test. I think we all want to see Tullamore get their campaign up and running with a win but i think they stand a better chance with their home fixture next week.

The final match features Highfield at Old Belvedere. The Dublin aristo’s will be smarting after a working over by Bohs last week and they’ll be keen to take advantage of any slip up by Railway or Cooke, the two teams ahead of them in the league. Highfield haven’t enjoyed the best of seasons and I suspect Old Belvo will record a comfortable win.

Note: Sixteen UL Bohemian players and four Highfield players feature in the historic Munster Women v Barbarians Women match tonight at Thomond Park, kick off 16:45. 

Sun 12th Nov 17 13:00 Blackrock v U.L. Bohemian Stradbrook
Sun 12th Nov 17 13:00 Galwegians v Tullamore Crowley Park
Sun 12th Nov 17 13:30 Old Belvedere v Highfield Anglesea Road
Sun 12th Nov 17 14:30 Railway Union v Cooke Park Avenue