Guernsey Press

Mental preparation pays off as Raiders win on the road

RELIEF rather than elation was the overriding emotion as Raiders registered their first win on the road this season on Saturday.

Ciaran McGann scored two tries and a total of 19 points for Raiders as they won on the road against Wimbledon. (Picture by Martin Gray,, 32515538)

But Guernsey director of rugby Jordan Reynolds believes the 34-22 success at Wimbledon could be an important building block for his side at this early stage in their National Two East campaign.

‘Speaking to the boys afterwards, you could see a mood shift,’ he said.

‘Having won only two games on the road last season, it is probably something that has been on our minds and we did a lot of work on mental preparation going into this game.

‘We know we can do it, but you have to go out and do it, so hopefully this will drive us on. It is certainly a real positive to take into this week.’

Raiders had to come from behind to claim the bonus-point victory, but unlike the games at Henley and Tonbridge Juddians earlier in the month where they had not been at the races in the first half, this time they did not give themselves a mountain to climb.

‘We started really well in the first couple of minutes, made a line-break and got into a promising position, but then an over-thrown line-out turned the ball over,’ Reynolds said.

‘There followed a real purple patch for Wimbledon for 10 minutes when they scored a couple of tries, but then for the next 40 minutes or so we dominated.’

Carter Hackett scored from a driving maul to get Raiders on the scoreboard before Charlie Simmonds pulled them level at 12-12 before half-time as he finished off a virtual length-of-the-pitch try.

After the interval Ciaran McGann scored two tries and Callum Roberts also touched down as the visitors opened up a 31-12 lead in the third quarter.

Wimbledon winger Tomasz Pozniak scored a couple of tries in the final quarter to complete a hat-trick and give Guernsey a few nervy moments towards the end, but McGann slotted over a late penalty to secure the victory.

‘When we had the momentum, we were completely on top of them and we had scored five tries to two,’ said Reynolds.

‘Then just silly little things came back into our game, we stopped exiting and tried to overplay, and we let them in for a couple of tries to gift them a bonus point.

‘There were a couple of learning points there of when to relieve pressure because it was not Wimbledon coming back into the game as much as us giving them tries, which was a bit disappointing.

‘But Wimbledon were a quality side and with all the injuries we have at the moment, as well as picking up a couple of yellow cards during the game which enabled them to find space out wide on a couple of occasion to score, under the circumstances it was a good win away, for sure – five points and there were some really good parts to our game.’

McGann finished with 19 points having taken over the kicking duties and Reynolds felt that was just rewards for his performance.

‘Ciaran had a really strong game, he tackled well and when he carried he pretty much made it over the gain-line every time as he made light work of their back-line.

‘But there were some good performances across the park – Callum Roberts has been in really good form and is hitting eight out of 10 each week and I thought our front row did really well for us at scrum time.’