Addis can take heart from midweek show

ULTIMATELY, the side in all-blue conceded five and it might have been more.

ULTIMATELY, the side in all-blue conceded five and it might have been more.

But, it has to be said, Rovers under new coach Karl Addis, were a good deal better than I imagined they would be despite the 5-1 defeat to St Martin’s in Tuesday’s Stranger Cup quarter-final.

Much better, in fact.

This was a performance of promise.

Not a lot, but some.

There was heart, organisation, stacks of youthful energy and some neat approach play, not least when young David Campbell came off the bench early on and showed why he won a place in the island’s under-18 starting team against Oxfordshire a few days previously.

Addis, the umpteenth coach to attempt to lift Rovers out of their perennial doldrums, faces a massive job to turn things around but if he can recruit a few more players like Campbell, the capable young keeper Harry Ingrouille, the under-rated Aaron Gallie and the energetic spearhead, Callum Wallace, then there could be a way forward at the domestic game’s top table.

Playing as they did for long periods against Saints, will give Rovers a chance of a result against fellow strugglers Rangers and Sylvans, but Addis might do well to pop along to a few IAG Saturday League games and see if he can find reinforcements there.

They are not in short supply.

Watching last weekend’s Folmi Cup game between new-boys The Captain’s and the Division One league champions Britannia Band of Brothers, one could not escape the obvious conclusion that here were two sides that would defeat the likes of Rovers and Rangers more often than not.

The island football ‘system’ wasn’t designed all those decades ago to work that way, but we are where we are and it is a fact, that the Saturday League is getting stronger and closing the gap.

Would it not be refreshing to see teams such as The Captain’s, Britannia Band of Brothers and Manzur, to name just three, competing against the established clubs – even if it is only in a cup competition?

There must surely be a way to bring the two sides of the domestic game together, working jointly for the overall good of the game.

I see no good reason why the men behind the Saturday and Sunday Leagues should not sit at the same table and be part of the League Management Committee – once they reaffiliate with the GFA.

It’s time we all stopped looking down our noses at the social element of the game and bring them into the fold as equal partners.

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MY OUTLOOK on sport is always to set the bar as high as possible and even if you cannot quite touch it – which once happened to yours truly when helping out at a top-class high jump competition – at least you have made a significant improvement.

There are, though, times when we all expect too much.

Living on an island does lower our ceiling of ambition.

We simply can’t expect GFC and GRFC to keep on winning, year in, year out.

Our cricketers will never beat Australia.

What we can only ask for is that each sport works towards and reaches realistic ambitions.

Poor Martyn de Garis wore the face of a man who had lost his life savings after his island under-18s had gone down 4-1 to Oxfordshire, but I could not understand why.

It is not his fault our youth development system is incapable of maximising the pool of talent available, and Oxfordshire should always beat an island of our size.

That does not mean we should never enter competitions such as the FA Youth Cup, because we should sneak the odd win from time to time and it offers our players a chance to properly test themselves against unfamiliar opposition. But our system, as it is, will never raise standards sufficiently to beat the likes of Oxfordshire.

There is a way, of course, to make things an awful lot better but it will require some very good leadership from somewhere.

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THE clocks go back next week and the awards season nears.

Heather Watson’s brilliant WTA win in Osaka probably assures her of the Sports Commission’s top prize, just ahead of Olympic marathon man Lee Merrien, while in the chase for the purely domestic ‘gongs’ I hope that the brilliant achievements of racing driver Darren Warwick are not overlooked.

I fancy, too, that there will be two or three additions to the Guernsey Sporting Heroes wall of fame and if they have not been considered already, let Inside Track suggest recently retired swimmer Ian Powell is inducted and, so too, cyclist Ann Bowditch.

The ‘Pocket Rocket’ may be slowly running low on fuel at her advancing age, but her performances on the bike for more than a decade now have played a major part in cycling being the force locally that it is today.

Meanwhile, at the risk of annoying the Commission’s top bods, I will once again plead for the overlooked greats of past generations and men such as Les Collins (boxing and football), Colin Renouf (football) and Gerve Brazier (football and powerboating) and Peter Wilson (motor-racing and powerboating), to get a look in.