Nice try: Council to strengthen twinning links with Douglas v Ballymoney women’s rugby match

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Douglas is strengthening its twinning links with Ballymoney by hosting a rugby match between the Vagabonds and Ballymoney ladies’ teams this Saturday (April 23).

According to a story featured on Isle of man.com....the match builds on Vagabonds’ Ladies’ visit to Ballymoney in September 2015 when the score was 5 - 0 to the County Antrim side.

Vagabonds’ Ladies’ Alana Faragher explained to a reporter from Isle of man.com: “I went to school in Ballymoney so have always been keen to strengthen the link between the two towns, especially as I’ve enjoyed having old school friends come over to play Douglas in the past. We’re the Island’s only ladies’ rugby team and are looking forward to reversing the score line this time.”

While on an official twinning visit to Douglas ahead of the match the Mayor of Causeway Coasts and Glens Borough Council, of which Ballymoney now forms part, councillor Michelle Knight-McQuillan said: “We’re broadening our horizons and “spreading our wings” beyond County Antrim and twinning agreements are very much part of this.”

Councillor Knight-McQuillan was joined by Alderman John Finlay who said: “It’s important to build relationships between Douglas and Ballymoney, especially to share experiences and discuss matters of common interest. As for the match, naturally we’re hoping for an impressive score once again.”

Completing the civic party from Ballymoney was twinning association vice-chairman Arlene McVicker who said: “Central to twinning is keeping people involved, so visits such as these are important for discussing issues which affect us both, such as dog fouling and car parking.”

Regeneration and community committee chairman Councillor John Skinner said: “We were pleased to welcome the Ballymoney party to Douglas to review and further the links between our two towns. While sport – notably rugby, netball, boxing, table tennis and hockey – has always formed a large part of the twinning activities, the agreement between Douglas and Ballymoney is far more nuanced.

“It’s about exploring opportunities to learn from one another - especially at a time when local authorities are under pressure to deliver more for less - encouraging wider engagement between schools and boosting visitor numbers. It’s also about examining how best to advance economic development in our towns and, to this end, we see potential in opening channels of communication between our respective chambers of commerce. In short, strengthening the links between Douglas and Ballymoney has the power to unlock tangible mutual benefits.”

The Vagabonds v Ballymoney ladies’ rugby match starts at 1 pm this Saturday (April 23) at Vagabonds Rugby Club, Braddan.