EXCITEMENT RUNNING HIGH
Palpable excitement you could call it.
As the Raiders run out against Tunbridge Wells tomorrow, for a third of the squad - the newcomers - it will be a totally new experience.
For the other two-thirds, those long established Raiders, it will be the same but it will be the same but different feeling after the colourful upgrade to the running track.
It promises to be a bumper crowd for the first ‘proper’ home game of the London & SE campaign and given good weather there could be pushing a thousand shouting the lads on as they seek to win a fourth time in five games this season and stay in the thick of the title picture.
Both sides suffered first losses last weekend and the also Raiders lost some key personnel to injury at Rochford.
Blair Campbell is out for months,Tom Teasdale has a nasty 7cm hamstring tear and war-horse Layton Batiste got a bang on the patella.
As a result and with others fit again, it will be a substantial reshuffle for the visit of a tough team who our coach rates and will probably be much stronger with a large number returning after missing the Hertford defeat through injury.
They are a big team which need to be met head on.
The most significant change is to see Joe Andresen move back to fly-half and Owen Thomas moving to 12.
The Welshman will be joined in midfield by Asher Veamatahau, whose twin brother Naki will be on one wing.
The Armstrong boys complete the three-quarters, with Anthony playing at fullback.
‘We had Joe at 10 and Owen at 12 at Colchester [in pre-season] and it was successful there,’ said Reynolds.
As for the pack Sam Steventon starts at loose-head prop with Cameron Craine back on the bench.
Kick off at Footes Lane is 2.30pm. Free entry for members and under 16. £9 entry for non-members.
Sam Steventon, Tom Ceillam, Jacob Pinkney, Lewis Hillier, Brad Webb, Courtney Raymond, Dom Rice, Doug Horrocks, Jake O’Connor, Joe Andresen, Naki Veamatahau, Owen Thomas, Asher Veamatahau, Matt Armstrong, Anthony Armstrong.
Replacements: Cameron Craine, Leon Gardner, Luke Sayer.
As for Guernsey Raiders Ladies they head to Southampton on Saturday in search of a first win of the season.
A move to National Challenge 1 SE-South has proved trickier than last year’s campaign in SE-West and the first two games of the season have been away to strong opposition resulting in two losses.
Injuries and availability issues have meant the Raiders Ladies have been fielding a new-look team with plenty of game time for this season’s new recruits, which will no doubt pay dividends later in the season.
The ladies have competed in both games but not for the 80 minutes and that has cost them dear.
Once again this weekend’s match day squad has been affected by an ever lengthening injury list but hopefully a strong pack will dominate and allow the new look back line to take advantage.
The Squad to travel is: Janelly Casas Zarate, Jillian Smith, Kayleigh Oliver, Kristine Vavere capt., Rachel Merrien, Elin Pritchard, Vicki Rang,Tanya Scholtz, Aimee Le Bachelet, Justeen Baker, Jodie Martel, Sophie Ferbrache, Becky Ashworth, Aimee Gaudion, Lael Hollingworth, Kelly Jones.