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Raiders now have to play catch up

Guernsey Raiders | Published:

ROCHFORD Hundred are in pole position in the title race after completing the double over Raiders.

Pivotal moment: Guernsey captain Lewis Hillier is about to be sent to the sin bin for leading with his forearm into contact. (Picture by Sophie Rabey, 26870731)

A big crowd in excess of a thousand people packed the Garenne Stand on Saturday afternoon, but the vast majority were left disappointed as the visitors won a hard-fought encounter 19-13.

The home side finished strongly, scoring two tries in the final six minutes of play, to earn a losing bonus, but they have slipped to second in the table, two points behind their opponents.

Raiders head coach Jordan Reynolds felt mixed emotions on the final whistle and admitted that his side’s slow start to the second half when they knocked on the kick off and Rochford scored from their subsequent possession was pivotal to the outcome of a game which also saw three yellow cards.

‘You could just see we didn’t get into the game, but with 10 minutes to go you could see the courage of the boys to come back and score those two tries, which was really pleasing to see,’ he said.

‘Ultimately, we’re pretty disappointed, obviously.

‘In the first half, when we should have kept it tight, we turned over the ball four times just by silly passes. Looking at it generally, we didn’t hit a lot of our set-piece. The scrum worked well, but the rest of our set-piece was a bit of a shame.

‘Obviously, turning that ball over off the second-half kick-off and letting them score kind of changed the game.

‘You always want to be the team that scores first.’

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The Guernsey coach added that the defence on show emphasised why the two clubs are where they are in the league table.

‘It was a 30-point wind out there and it’s credit to both sides that neither side leaked a lot of points in that wind.

‘It was two good sides who went at it.

‘I’d love to say we are a better side than that, I’ve seen us be a better side than that this season, but we just didn’t hit the mark in a few areas.

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‘It was a physical game and we’ve improved from the last time we played them, but it was like [against] Hertford, we had nine opportunities, probably left seven out there and Rochford literally only had three opportunities and scored three, which shows they are an excellent side to be able to do that, so credit to them.’

However, Reynolds was not too despondent and was quick to emphasise that there are still a lot of points to play for this season.

‘We got the bonus point, there’s only two points in it. It means they’ve got to pick up bonus points and there’s a lot of games still to go.

‘They have lost to CS this season, maybe they will slip up again, we’ve just got to stay on task.’

The result leaves Rochford in first place on 70 points and Guernsey in second on 68.

Wimbledon, who won 36-12 at home to Tring, are third on 65 with a game in hand on the two teams above them.

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