Crown sitting firmly on our Raiders' heads

THE party atmosphere suggested it was a special occasion and fittingly the large audience were thoroughly entertained.

Layton Batiste crashes over to score one of Guernsey Raiders' dozen tries against v Douglas RUFC (IOM) in the first community-level rugby match played since lockdown in Britain. (Picture by Martin Gray, www.guernseysportphotography.com, 28586199)
Layton Batiste crashes over to score one of Guernsey Raiders' dozen tries against v Douglas RUFC (IOM) in the first community-level rugby match played since lockdown in Britain. (Picture by Martin Gray, www.guernseysportphotography.com, 28586199)

The Footes Lane crowd for the inaugural Crown Cup was well into four figures and they were treated to 15 tries by two sides intent on making the most of this rare opportunity to face new opposition.

As the 84-17 scoreline suggests, Raiders showed why they are a couple of rungs above Douglas in the RFU ladder thanks mainly to the potency of their backline who flourished on the firm pitch that allowed them pin their ears back and use their pace to the full.

But by no means was this one-way traffic and Douglas can be proud of the tenacity they showed both in defence and attack, which resulted in three fully deserved tries of their own.

‘All in all, there must be close to 2,000 down here today, it’s been a fantastic day and I think we got a lot of tries and a lot of entertainment,’ said Raiders head coach Jordan Reynolds.

‘Last year against teams of the same level [as us] we beat some teams by 70 points. I don’t think there’s that huge difference there.

‘I thought Douglas rose to it, they scrummaged well in parts, they definitely tackled well, they defended well so fair play to them.

‘They were definitely not stepping backwards to come forwards.’

Douglas coach Carl Murray felt it was a very beneficial trip for his players.

‘It was always going to be a tough challenge, but we were expecting that,’ he said,

‘It was awesome to play in front of a crowd like this – we don’t have this in the Isle of Man, a grandstand like this, so it was awesome for our young lads.

‘It was good for us because we have ambitions to play National League rugby.

‘We are still three to five years off that strategic plan, so it’s something to work towards and with the Crown Cup now, we have got that fixture next year and hopefully we can get some more in-between as well.’

  • More in Monday's Guernsey Press.

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