Raiders try to take advantage of weather
MASTERING Storm Dennis could take Raiders back to the top of London & South-East Premier this weekend.
‘What teams are going to be performing well enough to pick up [four-try] bonus points in these conditions? Not many I’d say,’ said head coach Jordan Reynolds, whose side take on Sevenoaks at Footes Lane tomorrow.
‘Being Guernsey, we’re pretty experienced playing in the wind. It does put a lot of teams off, but it’s something we could take advantage of.
‘This weekend could provide us with an opportunity because if Rochford do not manage to get a bonus point and we do [if both win their games], then we’re sitting top on points difference.
‘That’s a huge incentive for us and a huge incentive for our supporters. A weekend like this could prove the difference in our season.’
Even though the wet and windy forecast suggests attractive rugby will not be the order of the day, Reynolds added that those aforementioned supporters keep packing out the Garenne Stand and they could make a big difference tomorrow too.
‘It seems that our crowds are getting bigger each week – perhaps people just want to congest together for warmth in the winter or maybe it is because everyone is getting excited by the opportunity to chase down that No. 1 spot.
‘The teams that come here cannot get over the support we get.’
Raiders have made a couple of changes to their starting XV from their victory at CS Stags 1863 last time out with Jake O’Connor returning at scrum-half after a well-earned rest, while Courtney Raymond is back in the No. 6 shirt having made his return from injury off the bench two weeks ago.
As things stand, the coaching team are favouring the option of two front-rowers on the bench, meaning Brad Webb is set to miss out.
‘We are thinking of going with two props because of the amount of scrums we are expecting in those conditions.
‘It is not a performance-based decision where Brad’s concerned and it will be a late call on the day, which we can do because we are at home, but we have got to look at it in a practical way, not a personal way.’
Sevenoaks are sixth in the table and narrowly lost 17-10 at home to Guernsey earlier this season.
‘They were wet and windy conditions that day, too, and the pitch was really muddy,’ Reynolds said.
‘This will be another tough game and Sevenoaks have managed to knock Wimbledon off this year, so they are no slouches.’
Guernsey Raiders v. Sevenoaks kicks off at 2.30pm.
Guernsey Raiders: Steventon, Ceillam, Batiste, Hillier, Merrien, Raymond, Rice, Horrocks, O’Connor, Thomas, Andresen, Teasdale, M. Armstrong, A. Armstrong, Sayer. Replacements: Craine, Pinkney, Barker.