Reds help Royals to flourish

Royals dominated in the first half but Eastbourne II hit back in the second Picture: LAUREN TRACHY (36730299)

MUCH has been made of the impact Jersey Reds have had on the community directly through their playing achievements on the pitch.

However, according to Royals RFC’s captain, the services of the players have been ‘”invaluable” to the grassroots side of the game.

Current professional Jordan Holgate and former Red Jack Macfarlane both currently help the local side, as have a number of other former RFU Championship stars since the club’s inception.

Cameron Queree and his men got off to the perfect start to the Harvey’s Brewery Counties 3 Sussex campaign with a comprehensive 40–8 home victory over Eastbourne II.

He said: “We have a number of current and former Reds who have helped on the coaching side since our first season in 2021.

“Jordan [Holgate] and Jack [Macfarlane] have been brilliant with us entering this current season, and we have also had Charlie Beckett, Aaron Penberthy, Jerry Sexton, Josh Bainbridge, Tom Williams and James Mitchell’s guidance in the past.

“It has been vital to our progression having access to such a high level of coaching.

“Not only that, it is current and based around how the modern game is played in an elite environment.

“They really buy into the process. They are there at training because they want to be and give back to the grassroots side of the sport in Jersey.”

Outside of Jersey RFC, Royals are the only other amateur club on the Island that compete in the English league structure.

A strong season last year resulted in a second-place finish with nine wins and a draw from 14 games. Only Worthing Azurians bettered that record.

Despite the visit of Eastbourne being their first competitive game since March, there were few signs of rust from Royals.

Four first-half tries from Dave Quinn, Jonny Barrow, Richard Nunn and Charlie Dixon-Smith put the Caesareans in charge, entering the break 26–3 in front.

“We got on top early and attacked very well and efficiently,” added Queree.

“The work that Jack has done with the forwards really paid off against Eastbourne.

“They looked very assured both in and out of possession.

“Meanwhile, the backs’ ball handling and speed was brilliant.

“Jordan has been working with us to create holes in the defence and we were able to exploit those pockets of space in the first half.’

Despite the dominance from the hosts in the opening period, the mainlanders hit back in the second half, testing Royals’ resolve.

It was a challenge they responded to, repelling their opponents after sustained pressure, all while adding two breakaway tries from Pearse Moloney and George Burke.

The captain added: “Eastbourne really piled the pressure on in the second period.

“It was a great test of our resolve and the guys really stood up to the challenge.

“We withstood sustained attacks and managed to score twice ourselves.

“To get a result like this in the first game of the season is brilliant.

“You always expect a bit of rust in the players, but the performance across the board was really impressive.’

The side travel to Barns Green on 14 October for their next game, who have picked up one win from their opening two contests, falling 33–26 to Hove III last weekend.

Royals RFC [1-15]: Sam Dillon, Luke Squire, Cameron Spencer, Richard Nunn, Connor Bisson-Mercury, Charlie Dixon-Smith, Ross Williamson, Cam Queree, Zac Robinson, Dave Quinn, Pearse Moloney, Hugo Reid, Christian Weald, Ben Pearson, Max Bennett. Replacements: Tom Wright, Jamie Fullerton, George Burke, Hector Chamberlain, Jonny Barrow.

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