Guernsey Press

Belief is key for Raiders to climb the table

RAIDERS had their coach asking for more of the same over the remainder of the season after they earned their first victory of 2023 in rousing fashion on Saturday.

Tom Ceillam, one of the Raiders try-scorers, runs at the Tonbridge Juddians defence at Footes Lane. (Picture by Sophie Rabey, 31706222)

Jacob Pinkney’s try with the last play of the first half cut their deficit against Tonbridge Juddians from 11 points to just four, but crucially it gave Guernsey momentum that they carried into an outstanding second-half display to deservedly emerge 25-14 victors at Footes Lane, with further tries coming from Tom Ceillam and Callum Roberts.

‘I hate to say it, but I think if we don’t score before half-time, that’s a different game, 100%, because if we don’t get that reward, then your confidence starts to get shot and I said before the game, “it’ll be our confidence factor if we win today”,’ said Guernsey director of rugby Jordan Reynolds.

‘I’ve just said to the boys any other team would have given up on this season – losing by small margins is way more frustrating than getting beaten by 50 points.

‘We have been doing it constantly, last week was depressing, and then we come out and put in a performance like that – I’m really proud of them.’

He added that the key now, though, was to aim to maintain such form and look to reach the top half of the table.

‘For us it’s about building confidence,’ Reynolds said.

‘We didn’t seem like a confident side in the first 25 minutes, maybe 30 minutes, but then we started building that.

‘You look through that team and you go “talent, talent, talent” and if you don’t say talent, you have guys who are working their socks off – this team could be in the top five, we know that. If we had won five other games, we would be there and we’ve lost nine games by close margins.

‘We’ve just got to instil more belief in them this week, that’s all we’ve got to do. We have got Westcliff away [this Saturday] and it’s a must-win for us, so it’s about instilling that belief.

‘We actually thought it was going to be a back-line’s day today, it ended up being a forward pack’s day – quite weird but we adapted to it and we went with it, so maybe next week we’ve just got to let our back-line unleash a little bit more.’

  • Match report in Monday's Guernsey Press.