Game on: the Reds relent
THE Centenary Siam will go ahead after the Jersey Reds agreed to undertake ‘detracting’ two major games on the first Saturday of May 2020.
The Jersey club offered alternative, unworkable dates, in the eyes of Guernsey Raiders, but ultimately have bowed to Sarnian pressure to get the game played on Saturday 2 May.
Jersey Reds are saying little but after a board meeting on Thursday night released a statement which stated: ‘It is unfortunate that the Siam games in Guernsey will clash directly with our final home league game of the season. We fear this will have a significant negative impact on the number of supporters and officials from Jersey who will attend the Siam, detracting from an occasion that is a highlight of the Channel Islands’ sporting calendar. But we recognise that circumstances have meant there is no realistic alternative to this date, leaving all concerned to make the best of it.’
The news was welcomed with relief at Raiders. Charles McHugh, club chairman, said: ‘We are pleased to hear that sense and the core values of rugby have prevailed and that the four Siam fixtures will take place as planned on 2nd May at Footes Lane.’
Head coach Jordan Reynolds reacted: ‘It’s great that we are able to finalise the date because the Siam is the most important game for both islands.
‘I was hopeful that it would be played. Both sides saw that every other date was unavailable.
‘It’s the best result.’
Reynolds’ most immediate priority, though, is to get five points from today’s home game against Tring.
The most significant selection is the return of Nick Merrien to the second row, having lost his place to the English newcomer, Courtney Raymond.
Merrien has produced some strong performance for St Jacques Vikings in the Zoo Sports Shield and with Tring expected to be strong physically, Merrien adds some power to the pack.
Layton Batiste drops to the bench and veteran Kiwi Cameron Craine misses out altogether as Reynolds opted to have an extra back rower on the bench.
That man is the fit-again Matt Thomas.
Sam Steventon, Tom Ceillam, Jacob Pinkney, Nick Merrien, Brad Webb, Lewis Hillier (capt.), Dom Rice, Doug Horrocks; Jake O’Connor, Owen Thomas, Amanaki Veamatahau, Asher Veamatahau, Matt Armstrong, Anthony Armstrong, Joe Andresen.
Replacements: Layton Batiste, Matt Thomas, Luke Sayer.