Guernsey up to third after their fifth victory in a row

RAIDERS are up to third in National Two South after yet another thriller against old foes Barnes.

Raiders centre Ethan Smith scoring an intercept try at Barnes. (Picture by Mike Marshall, 30071464)
Raiders centre Ethan Smith scoring an intercept try at Barnes. (Picture by Mike Marshall, 30071464)

Very rarely are the two sides ever separated by more than a single score and that was the case again on Saturday when Guernsey edged out their hosts by seven points to make it five victories in a row including four on the road.

As expected, Barnes charged out of the blocks putting the away team under pressure from the start.

A drop-out kick from the Raiders set the home side on the attack again with their backs breaking through the Raiders defensive line to score in the corner converted for a 7-0 lead within 5min. of the kick off.

Raiders were gifted their first opportunity to get a foothold in the match when Barnes fumbled the restart and within a few minutes fullback Joe Andresen went over in the corner to narrow the gap to two with Owen Thomas unable to add the conversion.

Barnes failed to add to their own tally when a penalty kick sailed wide of the posts and it was Raiders who struck next to take the lead for the first time.

The home scrum-half was sent to the sin-bin for deliberately knocking the ball out of Doug Horrocks’ hands as the Guernsey No. 8 attempted to take a quick tap-and-go.

The visitors quickly made the most of their numerical advantage as they spun the ball wide for centre Ethan Smith to score a converted try.

Smith then added his second try via an intercept inside his own 22, leaving Thomas a simple conversion to make it 19-7 for Raiders at half-time.

From past experience Guernsey knew to expect a Barnes fightback and that is what they got at the start of the second half with the hosts executing a catch-and-drive try to reduce the deficit to seven points.

In a see-saw game, the Raiders defence kept the home side at bay until they managed to build some momentum of their own, but that was halted when a home player was injured, resulting in a lengthy stoppage.

Barnes started the better on the resumption, but again Guernsey stood firm and once they had swung the momentum, they forced a deliberate knock-on that saw Barnes reduced to 14 men once again.

The subsequent scrum near the try-line put Raiders on the front foot and following a few pick-and-goes, prop Charlie Currie drove over the line to touch down for the bonus-point try which replacement Dan Rice converted.

Barnes mustered the final score on the day as Raiders were penalised for bringing down a driving maul with a penalty try, but the victory belonged to the visitors.

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