ON the eve of 2023 Betway Channel Islands Sports Awards, a humbled Coach of the Year nominee Myles Landick said that the recognition “is certainly not about me”.
His Jersey RFC men’s team have enjoyed a remarkable start to life since entering the English rugby union system at the beginning of the 2022/23 season.
An unbeaten inaugural campaign followed, with 21 wins from as many played, along with 17 try-scoring bonus points.
The Caesareans finished 11 points clear of runners-up Winchester and 22 points ahead of Havant II in third.
Then came the cherry on top, with a home Siam Cup victory over fierce rivals Guernsey.
With the new season came fresh challenges. Landick’s men A saw a step up in opposition quality in their Regional 2 South Central season.
The Caesareans have risen to the challenge, currently holding a 12-point advantage atop the table over familiar foes Winchester.
For the whole of 2023, Jersey RFC went unbeaten in competitive fixtures, 25 of which came in league matches with the additional Siam Cup victory to boot.
The head coach said: “It’s certainly not about me. It’s recognition for all the hard work that the players, coaches, medical team and committee have put in to make this all possible.
“A huge thanks especially has to go to the committee on that front, because we had a huge financial hole to fill to ensure we could continue playing and also carry on providing those opportunities for players on the Island.”
With the collapse of Jersey Reds, Landick was one of 60 employees who lost their jobs overnight.
The news sent shockwaves around the Island, with their liquidation coming just a matter of months after the professional outfit’s defining moment, securing a maiden Championship crown.
Despite personal devastation for the coach, there was a duty to protect those left behind – the amateurs of the historic local club.
“There wasn’t really time to process the situation with Jersey Reds,” he added.
“In a really savage way, we just had to crack on and ensure Jersey Rugby Club had a future.
“There have been so many people who came together to reap the successes that the club continue to enjoy across both the men’s and women’s sides, stretching into the minis and juniors.”
Landick’s side proved ready-made for the test of structured league rugby, having crafted their trade in the highly competitive Zoo League.
Where most fledgling sides might have struggled in a new arena, Jersey RFC flourished.
“Before we entered the English league structure, we played really competitive rugby in the Zoo League,” continued the head coach.
“Many of the outfits in that league have first teams playing in National One or even the Championship.
“If their first team didn’t have a game, some of their players would drop down and play against us.
“I would say those challenges really stood us in good stead to make an immediate impact when we joined the English leagues at the beginning of last season.”
Landick and his RFC side are up against strong competition for the Coach of the Year prize, which will be announced tomorrow at Beau Sejour in Guernsey.
Jersey football’s Elliot Powell led the men’s team to Island Games gold last summer and is also nominated.
Meanwhile, Jersey Table Tennis continued to thrive both domestically and overseas under the guidance of nominee Martin Tupper.
The sole Sarnian selection is Sara Parfit, whose Guernsey swim team relished their home Island Games, while eight of their youngsters were selected to travel to Trinidad and Tobago for the Commonwealth Youth Games.