Waive the cup-tied rule for U18s

THE uncertainty and serious doubt over the staging of the Junior Muratti has not stopped the island’s foremost U18 footballers from meeting up regularly to be coached by Colin Fallaize and his assistants.

In demand: Sylvans' U18s captain Oscar Leadbeater.
(Picture by Martin Gray, 29034421)
In demand: Sylvans' U18s captain Oscar Leadbeater. (Picture by Martin Gray, 29034421)

There have been good numbers, too, among a very handy group of young players, many of whom have been regularly playing in the FNB Priaulx League, as well as the Ravenscroft development structure, all keen to win that prized age-group ‘cap’.

But a specific problem looms this campaign as to how those U18s are utilised when the Stranger Cup enters the busy schedule in February, Inside Track understands.

Two senior clubs have so many U18s as part of their regular Priaulx XIs and therefore would benefit from some dispensation given with regard to Stranger involvement.

Rangers, I understand, are already considering giving up the ghost on the Stranger and will play, in effect, a Railway side because they expect to lose so many U18s.

And Sylvans, also, have a large number of U18s in their first team squad. Sylvans have already proved this season that they are one of the island’s leading sides and in normal circumstances would fancy their chances of winning the old trophy. But without any U18s at their disposal, those prospects diminish greatly and, thus, the true competition is diminished.

The question that needs to be asked is whether cup-tieing U18s in a season when there is so little chance of a Muratti for them justification for taking them wholesale from their clubs if they need them?

In a normal year I can see the real value of the U18s being at full strength for these vital preparation games for Jersey, but if there is no big game at the end of it, would it not be best to fully utilise the vast training squad?

IT SEEMS the IIGA’s September decision to postpone the original 2021 staging of the Island Games in Guernsey came just a week before hotel deposits were due.

But the decision was welcomed by Jersey, by tradition one of the biggest teams at the biennial event, which saw it as a short-term benefit for Team Jersey, said their team chief Steve Jacobs.

Concern immediately south-east across the water now is whether we have hotel capacity for 2023.

‘We’re just hoping that hotels in Guernsey will continue to operate and won’t have to fold because of the pandemic,’ he told the Jersey Evening Post this week.

‘We’re still not out of the woods. I think it is going to take that length of time [until 2023] to get everything back on track.’

That said, he does not anticipate a below-par return from the Caesareans.

Jacobs revealed it ‘was about 50-50’ when they went out to all their member sports and quizzed them as to whether they would prefer 2022.

‘It’s in our favour as it’s only a short hop across the water but, realistically, with all the other islands as well, we all need time to settle down with training and also arrange travel again,’ he said.

‘All of the competitors are pretty off-peak at the moment so this gives us an extra year to sort our qualifying standards again. And we’re 80% self-funding, which is obviously a big concern. A lot of people are out of work or on reduced work at the moment and they have more important things to spend cash on. This gives us extra time to fund-raise.’

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