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Raiders face big hit if Siam is cancelled

Rugby | Published:

THE ‘centenary’ Siam Cup clash, scheduled for Guernsey Raiders' home at Footes Lane in early May, is now officially off – for now.

Jersey reclaimed the Siam Cup on home soil in 2019, following a rare defeat a year earlier. Their 2020 return to Footes Lane to face Guernsey is now in serious doubt Picture: JON GUEGAN

‘We have suggested an indefinite postponement, but I don’t known as to when,’ admitted a frustrated Raiders chairman Charles McHugh.

The big game was scheduled for Saturday 2 May, a date the Raiders had fought long and hard for due to Jersey Reds’ reluctance to work around their Championship schedule.

So with that in mind and the likely heavy financial penalty of not getting the game played, McHugh is counting the cost.

‘They [Jersey Reds] need to take it to their committee and we are waiting for an answer.

‘It is, of course, impossible to play it in the current circumstances.’

A Jersey Reds spokesperson said: ‘We are disappointed the annual matches will not take place as planned, but we fully support the decision that has been taken in the light of unprecedented global events. At this stage it is unclear when normal life, including rugby, will be able to resume, however we will work closely with Guernsey Raiders regarding a new date.’

As to the loss of revenue caused by a Siam postponement or, heaven forbid, a cancellation, McHugh refused to give a figure.

‘I don’t know the answer – but it is substantial.’

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Guernsey Raiders would have been many people’s favourites to win the game for what is often hailed as rugby’s second oldest ‘international’ trophy, second only to the Calcutta Cup, played for between Scotland and England.

Had the game gone ahead and the RFU’S Greene King IPA Championship schedule not been brought to a halt by the coronavirus crisis, Jersey, the holders, would have faced the problem of fielding two sides on the same day.

This was after months of behind-the-scenes wrangling with player eligibility also stretching the patience of both clubs.

Ultimately, Jersey Reds conceded that there was ‘no realistic alternative to this date, leaving all concerned to make the best of it’.

This year’s match would have been the 79th meeting of the clubs (the inter-island club rivaly not starting until the mid Thirties), with the early years of the competition being between military sides in the CI.

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