Grandstand finish to Raiders victory
RAIDERS went from rusty to rampant on Saturday as they gave their fans some new year cheer.
Guernsey scored two tries in the last six minutes to overcome Dings Crusaders 31-17 and register their first win at Footes Lane in eight weeks after a frustrating period which saw their previous two home fixtures called off due to Covid.
‘That was a top performance from us and to get the bonus point right at the end, who’d thought that? Last five minutes eh?’ said a smiling Raiders coach Jordan Reynolds.
‘First half you could see how rusty we were. The good thing is we were composed. We went in at half-time, said “look, we’re rusty, let’s scratch that and move on to the second half and get what we want right”.
‘We were losing pods and balls were going behind, but I still felt attack-wise we were really good in the first half.
‘Our spacing on defence was not great so we worked out our spacing in the second half and in that second half our defence was excellent.
‘We were just constantly in there bashing them and when the guys came off the bench it was probably the little bit of extra fitness we needed because there were some guys flagging.
‘But I’m really proud of that effort from the boys.’
There was nothing to separate the two sides after 74 minutes, both having already scored two converted tries in the first-half and adding a second-half penalty apiece, but centre Ciaran McGann capped an impressive individual display with a try to edge Guernsey ahead in the 75th minute before wing Callum Roberts scored his second try of the afternoon with the last play of the game.
‘I thought Ciaran McGann today was outstanding. That’s his best game for us this season and if we can keep him fit, we can get a little bit more out of that as well,’ said Reynolds, who added that Roberts showed the threat he poses ‘when we get him the right ball’.
Reynolds also added a word of thanks to the Raiders fans for playing their part in the victory.
‘I was actually surprised how big a crowd we had today ... with everyone being wary about Covid and things, but they came out and it really counted in that last 20 minutes – Jeez it got loud eh? Especially when we were defending our own 22, the crowd was getting right into it. It was fantastic.
‘But it was good to have another home game. We’ve missed these. It’s always good to play here and always good to get a win.’
Match report in Monday's Guernsey Press.