A turn for the worse for Raiders
THE Raiders injury crisis has returned with a vengeance.
Less than a fortnight after coach Jordan Reynolds reported that he could see some light at the end of the tunnel, yesterday he was reeling off a long list of squad members unavailable for tomorrow’s trip to Dings Crusaders.
They include the trio who limped off in the defeat to London Irish Wild Geese last week – Doug Horrocks, Anthony Armstrong and Jason Batiste – as well as vice-captain Tom Ceillam, who has had eight stitches in the gash to his head that he suffered in the same game.
Add to those Luke Sayer, who withdrew from the Irish game in the build-up to it, as well as Chris Ahne, Harry Baron, Dale Martin and Robin Le Cocq together with the longer-term absentees such as influential fly-half Owen Thomas and you realise that it is with a huge degree of understatement that Reynolds says the situation is ‘a bit unfortunate’.
‘In fairness, there are probably three of four of those guys who need just a week’s rest. Some of the others are a little bit longer term,’ said the coach.
‘In total we have around 16 unavailable at the moment, so we are into our third string and there are some performance-based selections we would like to make but we are unable to at the moment.’
Reynolds had hoped to name Blair Campbell alongside Luke Jones in midfield, but the former Guernsey captain has also fallen victim to the injury jinx.
In the provisional XV he named, there are five enforced personnel changes from last week as well as two other positional ones, mainly to cope with the loss of Ceillam as Dave Anderson will wear the No. 2 shirt and scrum down in the front row while George Shannon comes in to replace Horrocks in the back row and will throw into the line-out.
Shannon will play at flanker with young Matt Creber moving into No. 8.
‘That’s the situation we are in, but we have got to look at it as tough challenges create great opportunities,’ Reynolds said.
‘You can look at it and think we’ve got an inexperienced back row there, but against one of the biggest packs in the league at Old Redcliffians two weeks ago Matt Creber was our man of the match and Dom had a big game there as well, so it blows out the water what you might expect from these young guys.’
Guernsey Raiders provisional XV
Steventon, Anderson, L. Batiste, Hillier, Thomas, Shannon, Rice, Creber, Barnes, Greenhalgh, Gladstone, Morisio, Jones, Aremu, Gow.