JERSEY RFC’s head coach confessed that his side’s concluding home victory ‘brought back special memories’.
Promotion from Counties 1 Hampshire was secured prior to Saturday’s duel against a ‘dogged Winchester side’, but a 23-13 win saw the Islanders complete the campaign with a perfect 21-game record.
And it is one to savour for Myles Landick, as he recollects the journey he made up the ranks with Jersey over a decade ago.
‘There are some special feelings for me today,’ he said.
‘I feel like I’ve been here before personally, on the journey through the divisions with the Reds.
‘I told the guys that promotions are special. A lot of players go through their whole career without that opportunity. It’s important to enjoy these moments, and this group absolutely deserve it.
‘It wasn’t the most complete performance. We probably struggled a bit in the wet, but the guys showed such a great attitude to dig deep in second half and seal the win.
‘We always think we are fitter than our opponents and usually that comes to the fore later in the contest.’
Winchester provided stiff competition, entering the tie on a 14-game unbeaten run dating back to October, and held the lead until the final ten minutes. They were also the first side to deny Jersey a bonus-point victory.
Captain-for-the-day Evan Whitson said: ‘It was the toughest test we have had all season and it just so happened to be in our last game.
‘We really turned the screw in the second half, but they [Winchester] deserve a lot of credit for asking a difficult question of us.
‘I am so proud of the squad effort. Not just the 15 on the pitch today, but the replacements which proved vital. We had various youngsters who came in at different points during the year and added to the talent within the squad.
‘The entire season, the effort was there from everyone involved. We could only beat the opposition in front of us and every time we answered the bell.’
With the league mission complete, the fledgling outfit can now turn their attentions to a much tougher test against Guernsey in May.
The Sarnians play at level four of the RFU ladder – three steps above Jersey’s current standing – and history has showed that the Caesareans will need everything they have to steal the cup away from the holders.
‘We are all viewing this win [against Winchester] as the beginning,’ said Landick.
‘Today, we must enjoy what we’ve achieved, but there is one eye looking towards to the Siam.
‘We have warm-up matches lined up against some stout opposition before May. They should stand us in very good stead ahead of the challenge that Guernsey will present.’