Guernsey Press

Encouraging signs in defeat for Guernsey Raiders

A SLOW start once again proved costly on the road for Raiders on Saturday.

Ciaran McGann breaks through on his way to scoring his try. (Picture by Mike Marshall, 32536995)

Luck was against Guernsey, too, as they were struck by injuries to three key players in the 36-25 defeat at Tonbridge Juddians.

However, the bonus point earned from four second-half tries, the fact that they even got in a position to win the game, and the promising performances of their newcomers left director of rugby Jordan Reynolds with mixed emotions.

‘It’s really hard to put our finger on what’s up with us at the moment in these away games because we’re starting slowly, allowing teams to get a strong lead before coming back later in the game,’ he said after seeing his side slip to a 26-3 deficit in the first half against TJs.

‘We had a chat afterwards and we believe as a group that it is more of a mindset issue.

‘To be fair, we played pretty well in the second half.’

By then Raiders had another mountain to climb, having conceded four tries to their hosts in the first half, during which time they also lost fly-half Dan Rice and Niall McGann to injuries that occurred in the same tackle.

They would also lose Anthony Armstrong to a dislocated shoulder later in the piece.

Reynolds admitted that TJs deserved their 23-point lead at the interval.

‘At Henley and in this game we got completely dominated in the contact area early on,’ he said.

‘TJs had a field day for the first 40 minutes, they just went on a bit of an onslaught, and once again we were down by 20-odd points.

‘Every time they carried they gained five or six metres, sometimes more. We were just not quick enough off the line and we were perhaps fortunate to be that close at half-time because they also dropped one chance over the line and had another disallowed.’

The message at half-time was to target a four-try bonus-point from the afternoon and if they achieved it, it should mean that they would also be within reach of their hosts.

So it proved as James Burger, Ciaran McGann, debutant Carter Hackett and Brad Webb all touched down with McGann adding a conversion to close the gap to 31-25 at one stage.

Dom Rice and Liam Welch combine in the tackle. (Picture by Mike Marshall, 32536987)

With the momentum at that stage, they were in with a chance of pulling off an unlikely victory until a first-phase turnover gave TJs the opportunity to put the game to bed late on, which they did with their sixth try.

‘The biggest issue was not that turnover, it was the start we made to the game,’ Reynolds said.

‘We showed a huge amount of fight to get back into that game.

‘In the second half our guys fronted up defensively, got off the line and made their shots.

‘There were lots of positives in that second half and I was really encouraged by the effort, but I’m also disappointed because that’s two away games now we could have won but we haven’t, and that’s more about our failures than the opposition beating us.’

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