Five Raiders to debut at Dorking
FIVE newcomers will be making their competitive debuts as new-look Raiders return to London & South-East Premier tomorrow.
Selection dilemmas of the positive kind have made a welcome change for Guernsey director of rugby Jordan Reynolds and his coaches this week, with the supremo reporting that in excess of 30 players are currently ‘putting their hands up for the first-team’.
He has had to cut that day to a match-day squad of 18 for this weekend’s season opener at Dorking, ‘helped’ only by the fact that regulars Owen Thomas and Nick Merrien are unavailable.
A couple of others – Luke Sayer and Robin Le Cocq – are carrying niggles and, for once, Guernsey are in a position where they do not need to be risking players thanks to the increasing strength in depth.
‘It’s a lot better than it was previously,’ said Reynolds.
‘There were some really tough selection decisions, especially after the last warm-up game because there were some really good performances,’ he added, noting that the likes of Layton Batiste and Chris Ahne are quality players who have missed out on this occasion.
The coach has been encouraged by the improvements his squad have been making over the summer, with the displays in the inter-house warm-up match a step up from those in the prior friendly at Colchester.
‘Although we were nowhere near perfect at Colchester, it started to come together there and when we then played the in-house game it was getting better.
‘We have seen some really strong stuff from our backline in the last four weeks, seen what we are capable of and in the in-house game both sides attacked with purpose, which will hopefully be a mantra for us this season.’
Dorking have a decent record at this level and if Reynolds could have picked his opening away trip of the season, this would have likely been it.
‘They have always been a pretty good side, they will be fresh first game up and they will look to play pretty wide so it should be a good measure of where we are and where we want to be,’ he said.
Sam Steventon, Tom Ceillam, Jacob Pinkney, Lewis Hillier, Brad Webb, Matt Thomas, Dom Rice, Doug Horrocks, Jake O’Connor, Joe Andresen, Naki Veamatahau, Blair Campbell, Asher Veamatahau, Matt Armstrong, Anthony Armstrong. Replacements: Cameron Craine, Dan de Kock, Tom Teasdale.