THE SKIPPER IS BACK
The pestering has worked.
Skipper Lewis Hillier is back to lead the Guernsey Raiders at Canterbury this Saturday, his much needed rest deemed over by head coach Jordan Reynolds.
‘Yeah, Lewis has been pestering me to get back,’ said Reynolds in naming the following squad for the trip to the league’s second-placed side:
Sam Steventon, Tom Ceillam, Layton Batiste, Lewis Hillier, Matt Thomas, George Shannon, Dom Rice, Douglas Horrocks; Tom Teasdale, Owen Thomas, Daley Aremu, Callum Gladstone, Luke Jones, Matt Lomas, Anthony Armstrong.
Replacements: Cameron Craine, Nick Merrien, Matt Creber, Brad Webb and Elia Morisio.
The coach is more than happy to have his on-field leader back.
‘He has been working hard in the last couple of weeks and followed his rehab well. His match-fitness is perhaps not going to be quite there yet, but I’m sure he is as keen to get back as we are to have him back.’
Nick Merrien gets a rest on the bench, while Cameron Craine also returns to the squad for what will be his 200th appearance for Guernsey. He has recovered from the hamstring injury that saw Exeter Chief Academy player Pat Schickerling fill in for him. Pat has now been loaned out to National One side Chinnor and has gone there with Reynolds’ full backing.
The long injury list now has Harry Baron back on it after he rolled his ankle in training on Tuesday.
Reynolds is looking for another good performance as the squad build up towards Siam day in early May.
‘We’re still looking forward to every game and take every opportunity that comes our way,’ said the coach, adding: ‘I’m looking at process of how we are performing as opposed to the result.’
‘We want to keep improving,’ he said with eyes not only on the league table and the Siam, but also laying foundations for next season.
He says there is no hint of depression in the squad and a desperate desire for the season to end, despite the results and the injuries.
‘I think 80% of the squad are still really excited.
‘We have got a lot of young guys who are coming through and are excited, which is boosting us a lot.
‘If we can go through to the end of the season, pick up a few more wins and there’s the possibly of [winning] the Siam Cup, it will be an amazing season.’
The Raiders edged out Canterbury 15-13 at Footes Lane when the two sides last met, but since then they have gone up a notch.
Canterbury are unbeaten at home all season and sit just four points ahead of Henley who, along with Tonbridge Juddians and Taunton Titans, are chasing them hard.