Old Redcliffians 51 - Guernsey Raiders 17
CONCEDING eight tries against a side that had not won in ages, was not what Raiders were looking for from their trip to Bristol.
By the end of a hugely disappointing afternoon for the visitors, Raiders had been swamped and they remain in a real basement battle after a hurtful loss.
The only consolation was defeats for two of the sides below them.
In some ways it was just one of those days when just about everything that could go wrong, did.
Up at five for a seven o’clock flight, the squad spent three and a half hours hanging around the airport before they eventually got away.
Then there was a two and a half hour bus ride to Old Redcliffians with the squad arriving just in time for kick off.
Unsurprisingly, mentally the team were not 100% with it as the first whistle blew.
‘To be fair, it was probably a few things that contributed,’ said Jordan Reynolds, highlighting the travel issues.
‘By the second half we were struggling defensively - it really was an off day.’
One man who did enjoy himself, was home winger Henry Bird who crossed for five of the scores.
From the first whistle the home team started with gusto and against the slope forced the Raiders into errors from the outset.
The Reds pack dominated in the scrum forcing the green and whites onto the back foot.
Within 10 minutes the pacy wings combined to set the score board rolling with a fine try in to the corner: 5-0.
From the re-start the Raiders, using the slope, kicked long forcing the Reds into touch.
But Old Redcliffians stole the ball back at the lineout and some neat hands at pace worked wing Ed Boxall over in the opposite corner and from the touchline Hill added the extras.
In no time, 12-0 became 17-0.
Raiders conceded another penalty, this time for back chat, and from from the resulting lineout the home swiftly run the ball through the backs to increase the score through Bird.
Raiders then produced the best and only decent 20 minutes in the game.
Using the slope to their advantage and forcing the home side to infringe Henry Greenhalgh slotted over a penalty.
At this point Raiders introduced Malcolm Barnes and with another penalty the Raiders went for the catch and drive option.
It worked as the forwards drove over Sam Steventon and Henry Greenhalgh converted for 17-10.
Soon enough they were level.
Another penalty conceded by the home side saw Raiders repeat the the catch and drive attack and the forwards powered over the line with Tom Ceillam credited with a score that Greenhalgh converted.
A 17-17 interval score might have stunned Old Redcliffians, particularly their recent form.
But they were far the stronger side after the break.
Within a few minutes of the restart a knock-on by Raiders allowed the home side to score in the corner: 22-17.
The tale of woe continued for the Raiders who could not force their way back into the game.
The Reds pack started to control the game and a combination of errors, penalties and missed tackles saw the home side stretch their lead with a further four tries, two of which were converted for a 48-17 lead.
Guernsey were still winning plenty of ball and threw caution to the wind and looked to salvage something from the match.
They ran the ball back at every opportunity but a now confident Old Redcliffians tackled well and stopped the attacks.
A late penalty took them past the fifty mark and Raiders were glad to hear the final whistle.
Reynolds said there were positives to take from the loss.
‘We attacked well. It wasn’t perfect by any means, but there was something there we can work with.’
Raiders will need to be sharper and less giving when bottom side London Irish Wild Geese visit Footes Lane this Saturday.
Sam Steventon, Tom Ceillam, Layton Batiste, Lewis Hillier (capt.), Matt Thomas, Matt Creber, Dom Rice, Doug Horrocks; Owen Clemett, Henry Greenhalgh, Alex Gow, Elia Morisio, Jason Batiste, Anthony Armstrong, Luke Sayer.
Replacements: Dave Anderson, Cameron Craine, George Shannon, Malcolm Barnes, Callum Gladstone.
Old Redcliffians: Craig Owen, Henry Bird, Jermaine Jones, Christian Gervais, Ed Boxhall, Kieran Hill, Ash Groves, Alex Harvey, Kieran Ward, Jake Caulfield, Chris Pursall, Corey Talbot, Dan Fry, Scott Coster, Ethan Doyle
Replacements: Ellis Joseph, George Kloska, Pat Zindi, Dom Sprague, James Clements.