‘Confusing’ decision leaves Raiders without a victory

THERE was late controversy as Raiders were denied a first win of the National Two East season at Henley on Saturday.

Trailing by four points in the closing seconds of the game, Guernsey thought they had edged ahead when Luke Sayer went over in the corner and the referee initially awarded the try.

However, after consultation with his assistant, the decision was then changed with Sayer adjudged to have knocked-on in the process of touching down.

That was not the end of the matter, though, as advantage was being played at the time and from the resultant Guernsey penalty, they kicked to the corner and the subsequent driving maul came down as it approached the line. Once again, Raiders found themselves on the wrong end of the decision and Henley saw out the game for a narrow 28-24 victory.

‘We were on our own 22 with about a minute to go, but we worked our way up the pitch into a position from where we actually scored a try when Luke Sayer went across the line and it was given by the referee,’ said coach Jordan Reynolds.

‘The assistant referee decided to come on and say it wasn’t a try because of an apparent knock-on – it was a bit confusing, to be honest, but it’s one of those things.

‘We still had a penalty advantage to play, though, and we had a maul from that. Henley had not stopped one all day, but interestingly when it was pulled down the referee decided we had pulled it down.’

All that came at the end of a game in which Guernsey had led by 16 points at one stage in the first half, when they played some of their best rugby of the season to have a four-try bonus point secured by half-time.

Anthony Armstrong gave them an early lead from Owen Thomas’ excellent crossfield kick and then hooker Dan Morgan followed up his two tries against Barnes with another brace, both of which were converted by the Raiders fly-half.

Ethan Smith went over late on in the half to give Guernsey a 24-15 half-time lead, but the Hawks fought back after the interval as Raiders struggled to regain their momentum.

‘We had a really strong first half,’ Reynolds said.

‘Our plan was pretty accurate and we were pretty accurate in our execution, but around the 30min. mark our lineout started causing some issues for us, we also had some scrum penalties against us and we knew Henley were always going to fight back in the second half.’

Having had a day to reflect on the game, the Guernsey director of rugby added that the end result was not the most frustrating aspect.

‘A lot of teams will go away to Henley this season and get nothing whereas we came away with two points,’ he said.

‘The frustration is not that we lost, but that we did not continue with our momentum in the second half.

‘Our performance in general was a lot better. We were firing in the first half and after that it came down to our mistakes. We missed two exits and they scored twice. Beyond that, our exits were generally good.’

Reynolds pointed to back-rowers Dom Rice and Jordan Smiler as impressive performers for his side on the day.

‘Our attitude was really positive from everyone,’ the coach added.

‘That was something we missed against Barnes, but we are looking forward to bringing in this week.

‘The intensity was high from the outset and we need to encourage that again.

‘At the moment we are nought from three so far and we need to start picking up these wins.’

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