Reynolds: ‘It’s a real effort issue on these away games’

TWO bonus points softened the blow of another disappointing road trip for Raiders on Saturday.

Sevenoaks, who are two places below Guernsey in the National Two East, sealed a narrow 33-26 victory with a last-minute penalty kick in a game in which both sides scored four tries apiece and could have gone either way.

However, Jordan Reynolds admitted that had his side snatched victory at the end, it would not have been deserved.

‘We started well, we felt like we were on top for the first 10-15 minutes, but then a few mistakes crept in – a couple of missed touches, a couple of line-outs went awry – and we let them back into the game,’ said Guernsey’s director of rugby.

‘From then on, we were probably second best for the rest of the day, although generally the game was pretty poor from both sides really with lots of mistakes. We did not even get to two or three phases until the last 20 minutes.

‘Overall, we were just flat, as we have been in a lot of away games this season, and we just lacked a bit of effort to be honest.’

Matt Creber scored the opening try during that opening 10 minutes, with Owen Thomas converting, to give them a 7-0 lead.

However, they did not add to their tally until midway through the second half, by which time they had conceded 20 points.

Ethan Smith, Callum Roberts and Brad Webb all touched down as Guernsey tried to salvage something from the match late on, with Thomas adding one more conversion before being withdrawn through injury and Vikings regular Tom Veillard also kicked two points.

Matt Creber is hauled down by two Sevenoaks opponents. (Picture by Mike Marshall, 31894076)

The bonuses came from the four tries and finishing within seven of the opposition.

‘We were at about 30% of where we were against Dorking, yet we still got ourselves in a position to win the game,’ Reynolds said.

‘What’s pleasing is we did get two points. There have been games where we have gone away and performed well enough but got nothing out of them, but those two points have taken us to 50 for the season, so at least that’s a bit of a reward.

‘We are talking about playing bottom-half-of-the-league teams, but Sevenoaks are trying to get out of relegation danger and they had energy for 80 minutes, we had energy for about five.

‘Again we are going away and struggling to get up for the game.

‘You could make a case that Sevenoaks are a better team than us because the two times we have met this season have ended in a draw here and they have beaten us away, but on both occasions we have played pretty poorly.

‘We played at 30% and nearly beat them, that’s with them playing at a high intensity, so it shows that for us it’s a real effort issue on these away games.

‘We have only two wins on the road and it is something we have to address to change that mindset, particularly with the Siam being on the road this season.’

Reynolds praised Jacob Pinkney for his individual performance, saying the prop ‘stepped up for us defensively, which was good, but unfortunately he was a bit of a one-man band’.

Having gone into the game with up to 17 players unavailable, Raiders also picked up a couple more injuries with Thomas and Malcolm Barnes picking up knocks while Tom Teasdale was lost to a knee injury after 20 minutes.

Guernsey now have a much-needed bye weekend before Rochford Hundred visit Footes Lane on Saturday 25 March.

‘Mentally the break is good for us, physically it is not going to change much as a lot of the injuries are pretty long-term,’ Reynolds said.

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