Raiders learn the full extent of road trips
RAIDERS have found out the full extent of their travels in their inaugural National Two South season.
After their historic win over Bournemouth in last month’s promotion play-off that saw Guernsey reach the fourth tier of the RFU league ladder for the first time, the club were informed on Wednesday of the 15 clubs they will be facing next season – ranging from Redruth in the far west of Cornwall up to Birmingham & Solihull in the Midlands and across to Canterbury in the east.
Raiders coach Jordan Reynolds yesterday revealed that preparations started in earnest as soon as it was confirmed who would be alongside his team in the division next season.
‘We obviously travel a lot anyway. If it was another club looking at doing it for the first time it would be a bit more daunting, but we have got a fair bit of experience, although the logistics if we went up were always going to be interesting,’ he said.
However, he added that immediate negotiations would revolve around Raiders being given the option of using other airports rather than just Gatwick, which the RFU has restricted them to in previous seasons.
‘When we played Towcestrians last season up in Northamptonshire, we still had to go to Gatwick and bus up from there,’ Reynolds said.
‘Next season the logical thinking would be to open it up to other airports because if you look at Redruth for example, trying to get there the logical thing would be flying to Exeter, which is still a two-hour drive away – so imagine having to get a bus there from Gatwick and the time involved.
‘We have worked out that in terms of overnight stays, we can probably get it down to about four or five best-case scenario. I believe we might try to get a night game somewhere, otherwise we could be looking at a Friday and Saturday stay-over.
‘We still have to look at it as an amateur club – going the night before for all games would cost the club a huge amount and is not realistic.’
On the playing side of things, Reynolds’ initial thought is that Redruth and Old Albanian will be among ‘the powerhouses’ in the division.
‘A lot of these teams are fully semi-professional with big budgets, so for us it’s an opportunity to raise the bar and challenge these sides,’ he said.
‘We will be playing 30 games, so basically all the bye weeks we have had in previous seasons have gone and we will just play week-to-week and that is why I am desperate to try and get a bigger squad,’ he added.