Sat 28 Apr 2018
Guernsey Raiders v Bournemouth
Saturday, 28 April 2018, KO 1.45pm at Foote’s Lane
Result: Guernsey Raiders 38/5t5cd v 23/2t2c3p Bournemouth
HT: 7/tc v 13/tc2p
Guernsey prove too strong in the end
Bournemouth: Danny Kirkpatrick, Dan Stewart, Freddie Gleadowe/2t, Scott Chislett, Alex Everett-Bolter Grant Hancox/2c3p, Sam Hardcastle, Tom Napier, Alan Manning, Luca Firetto, Mike Treloar, Jack Hennings, Richard Sharp, Alexander Bennett, Joe Rees/C. Substitutes: Pat Fraser, Adam MacDonald, Wyn Roberts, Alex Sutherland. DoR: Will Croker. Coach: Jon Sanchez. Medical Team: Andy Curtis and Steve Trapp. Man of the Match: Danny Kirkpatrick. Club League Career Records: Grant Hancox extends his own records to 120 penalty goals and 292 goals. (Since taking over kicking duties three seasons ago, Grant has scored an astonishing 779 points, his four-season total is 799.) Sam Hardcastle extends his own records to 321 starts (308 as scrum-half). Scott Chislett extends his own inside centre starts record to 186. Joe Rees extends his own No 8 starts record to 87. In the League Season: Grant extends his own club records to 309 points, 51 penalty goals and 119 goals. Is leading scorer with 68 conversions. With 18 starts, Richard Sharp sets a new debut-season record as blindside flanker (Jack Hennings was the previous holder on 14 set 2010/1). Ali Bennett extends his own record to 22 starts as openside flanker (Iain Crombie was the previous holder with 20 set in 2008/9). Milestones: Jack Hennings started for the 150th time, Joe Rees for the 125th time and Alex Everett-Bolter for the 50th time.
Referee: Daniel Woods. Touch Judges: Andy Wigley, Owen Taylor. Referee Adviser: David Morgan.
Team Selection: Compared to the team that faced Newbury Blues last week there was just one change to the starting line-up with the returning Alex Everett-Bolter replacing left wing Alex Sutherland who was moved to the bench. On the bench, Alex Sutherland replaced Sam Palmer and Wyn Roberts came in as the fourth replacement.
The weather was overcast but fine with little breeze. Underfoot the pitch was dry and looked in excellent nick.
Guernsey (fly-half Owen Thomas) kicked off from left to right as viewed from the stand and to their left.
An early break by Sam Hardcastle ended when the scrum-half slipped just short of the line and Guernsey managed to clear to their left for a Bournemouth line–out on the Raiders’s 5m. Securing the ball Bournemouth ‘crabbed’ in field and when it was released to the backs outside centre Freddie Gleadowe did well to twist and turn his way over for the first score. Fly-half Grant Hancox kicked the goal to get Bournemouth off to a flying start at 7-nil after some five minutes. There were early signs of Guernsey forward power when Bournemouth found it hard to contain the shove but with ball in hand Bournemouth offered a credible threat. Being denied the ball for considerable periods Guernsey conceded a couple of penalties and Hancox kicked the goals, the first of which took him pass the 300 points for the season the first time a Bournemouth player has done so in the league. The upshot was a ‘two-score’ lead after half-an hour’s play but right at the death of the half a passage of play suggested Bournemouth were in for a torrid afternoon. A driving maul from the Bournemouth 22m powered by the Raiders’s forwards almost carried them over the line and Bournemouth might consider themselves lucky they didn’t conceded a penalty try as the maul went down just short of the line. Whatever, the ball was quickly through the hands and the strong-running left wing Anthony Armstrong was over unchallenged. From close to the touchline Thomas kicked a fine goal to end the half and Guernsey were right back in it (if they were ever out of it) at 7-13.
The game was turned on its head in the second half. Bournemouth struggled in the scrums and were penalized. Thomas found touch to his left outside the Bournemouth 22m. Scrum-half Kyle Brown ran round the end of the line-out deep into the 22m and with referee Dan Woods playing advantage for a Bournemouth infringement the supporting forwards powered their way over to score under the posts. Thomas kicked the goal and Guernsey gained the lead for the first time, a lead they were never to surrender. The lead was quickly extended after another run by the dangerous Armstrong and tighthead Layton Batiste was on hand to take advantage of the winger’s efforts by scoring under the posts. Thomas kicked his third goal to severely dent any early Bournemouth optimism by making the score an ominous 21-13 less than ten minutes into the half. Nonetheless Bournemouth continued to show they could be a threat when they had ball in hand and Hancox was on hand to kick his fourth goal of the afternoon from some 30 metres out when Guernsey were penalized for handling on the ground in their attempts to stem the flow. Was 16-21 halfway through the half manageable? Perhaps not. The Raiders had other ideas and a very aggressive chase down of the restart saw the ball go loose, Armstrong fly-hacked it on and dived on the ball to score left of the posts. From wide out, Thomas unerringly put the ball between the posts and Guernsey had reasserted their authority by stretching away to a ‘two-score’ lead at 28-16. With their tails up The Raiders stormed back immediately with a break midfield to score more or less straight from the restart. With Thomas kicking the goal Bournemouth were facing a formidable task at 16-35. Nonetheless, Alex Sutherland, who had just come on for full-back Danny Kirkpatrick, with his first touch of the ball, made a determined run tight on the right-hand touchline shaking off would-be tacklers supported by Jack Hennings. The strong-running lock found Gleadowe in space and the centre raced away to score his second of the afternoon right of the posts. Hancox added the extras, as the saying goes, and Bournemouth had reduced the deficit at 23-35 with perhaps ten minutes to go in the match. Any optimism there might have been in the Bournemouth camp was promptly knocked when Thomas dropped a goal taking advantage of the fact referee Woods was going to penalize Bournemouth anyway to make the score 38-23. Bournemouth continued to strive to get back into the game. Inside centre Scott Chislett was put clear but the pass was forward. They also continued to work hard in defence and the game ended with a Bournemouth knock-on as they attacked yet again.
Guernsey illustrated just how tough it is to reach the higher levels and we congratulate them on reaching the highest level in their history. They seem well equipped to make a ‘real go of it’ next season. For Bournemouth disappointment of course but we all realize how challenging the game is at this level and there is much to take out of this season. We thank all those who have supported us this season (we had an astonishing number enjoying a weekend on the island), our sponsors, too numerous to mention individually here and the myriad of members who beaver behind the scenes to make all this happen. Don’t forget we are celebrating Sam Hardcastle’s immense career at Bournemouth on Saturday May 12 with the end of season awards dinner in the evening. See the website for details. Finally can I thank you for reading this all the way to the end.