Guernsey Press

Former Red Barnes makes immediate impact as Raiders down Worthing

Dan Barnes was literally the centre of attention on Saturday and he stuck to the script magnificently as he made a try-scoring debut in a bonus-point Guernsey victory.

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Dan Barnes made a try-scoring debut for Guernsey Raiders in the victory over Worthing. (Picture by Martin Gray,, 32600024)

Little over a week after suddenly losing his job with Jersey Reds after the reigning Championship champions ceased trading, Barnes opened the scoring in the battle of the Raiders against Worthing as the home side ran out 41-17 winners at a sunny Footes Lane.

‘He’s an OK player,’ said Guernsey director of rugby Jordan Reynolds with a huge wry smile.

‘What people don’t really realise is the little small things that he’s doing on the park, like there was a good stop over on this corner where he put the shot on when they had a man over, gets the turnover and that puts us back into momentum shift.

‘He’s a hell of a player and we’re thankful we got him.’

Alongside Barnes, Ciaran McGann maintained his brilliant form, too, scoring two of Guernsey’s five tries and adding 16 points with his boot, which also led to words of praise from his coach.

‘We don’t want to jinx it, but he was excellent last week, he was excellent this week, excellent the week before last, excellent the week before that – he’s just hitting his straps at the moment,’ Reynolds said.

‘One of the conversations me and him have had over the last couple of years is trying to allow him to enjoy his rugby. If you look at other teams, they play structured rugby, do this, do that – our philosophy is “here’s the shape and play within it, make the decisions”.

‘Ciaran’s just developing week in and week out in that environment, which is great to see.’

Having opened up a 28-point lead after 35 minutes of a match which included four yellow cards, Guernsey did allow Worthing a sniff of a chance in the opening quarter-of-an-hour of the second half before closing out the game in the final quarter.

However, Reynolds did not want to be too critical of his players in what he termed a ‘good’ performance overall.

‘Coming out in second half, it got a little bit tense there, but I think it’s hard when you’re up at 28 points.

‘I don’t want to make excuses, but coming out in the first half, getting the buzz to get into the game [and then] coming out in the second half, thinking the game is probably done.

‘What I did like to see is we held them out at the end there. They didn’t get the bonus point, so it showed the effort came back into the game for us.

‘Attack wise, a little bit clunky in some parts and then some of our attack was probably the best we’ve seen so far this season, so it’s a bit of a Jekyll and Hyde there, but overall really good.

‘We said we were going to attack their set piece and I think that was again the difference today.’

• Match report in Monday's Guernsey Press