Quate wings into Raiders starting XV

RAIDERS aim to light up Friday night at Footes Lane today.

Ethan Smith, right, in support of Anthony Armstrong last week against Clifton. Smith switches back to centre for tonight’s home game with Bury St Edmunds. (Picture by Martin Gray, 30623739)
Ethan Smith, right, in support of Anthony Armstrong last week against Clifton. Smith switches back to centre for tonight’s home game with Bury St Edmunds. (Picture by Martin Gray, 30623739)

In a rare outing under the floodlights, Guernsey face Bury St Edmunds in a fixture re-arranged from December and, with the weather set fair, it promises to be a cracker.

‘Bury St Edmunds are probably the form team of the two of us, they play a pretty wide game and they are very balanced, which means they have probably got a fair few different threats,’ said Raiders director of rugby Jordan Reynolds.

‘Their No. 10 will play a little bit deeper and so we will have to make sure our spacing is right on defence, but once again I think it will be a really good battle between two good sides.

‘We are pretty excited about it being a Friday evening game. People will be able to finish work, then come down, enjoy some refreshments and watch some good rugby – so hopefully we will draw in a bit more of a crowd and get some big support down there.’

As Reynolds alluded to, since the postponement of the original fixture the visitors have embarked on a terrific run of form since the turn of the year.

It took National Two South leaders Redruth to inflict a first defeat in nine games on Bury St Edmunds last week – and that required the Cornish outfit to come from behind to win by a narrow 38-32 margin.

Of course, Guernsey also had a close encounter with one of the title contenders last weekend, which finished with Clifton being awarded a penalty try in the 85th minute to pinch a 26-24 win at Footes Lane.

‘There were some fairly sore bodies this week, but they got through training on Tuesday quite well,’ Reynolds said.

‘The biggest part is where we are mentally after last week.

‘The boys seem pretty focused and we want to put our frustration from that game to good use this week.

‘We will know in the first 10 minutes where the team is. If we start like we did last week, we are on for a good game, but individuals have got to be up for this game and turn last week’s disappointment into getting a good result this week.’

From a coach’s point of view, Reynolds revealed that ‘it was easy for me’ to get over the defeat to Clifton relatively quickly.

‘I don’t think physically we could have done much more. I still think it was one of our better performances, it just turned into a bit of circus at the end,’ he said of a game in which his side received five yellow cards and a red.

In one change to the starting XV, Taylor Quate comes in for the unavailable Charlie Davies, with Ethan Smith shifting back into midfield from the wing.

‘We have got two direct-running centres and we have the opportunity to play into the wider channels.

‘Taylor was there or thereabouts a while back, but then he got injured and has been away, so he has not got the minutes we would have liked so far and we were pretty keen to get him on the park. The only real question was where we were going to play him.’

  • Guernsey Raiders against Bury St Edmunds kicks off at 7.30pm tonight and is the second part of a Footes Lane double-header, with St Jacques Vikings playing against the BSE Seconds at 5.30pm.

Guernsey Raiders team

Steventon, Ceillam, Pinkney, Hillier, Culverhouse, Baird, Dom Rice, Horrocks, Simmonds, Andresen, Quate, McGann, Smith, A Armstrong, Roberts. Replacements: Morgan, Currie, M Thomas, Dan Rice, Jamieson.

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