JRFC prepare for 'biggest challenge'18/03/2015
Jersey's players face the biggest challenge of the season this weekend against league leaders Worcester Warriors... while officials at the Club get ready for a record-breaking crowd.
Boosted by the challenge of facing a side unbeaten in their last 24 league and cup games, record numbers of visiting supporters and an additional corporate marquee, Saturday's attendance is expected to approach Jersey's highest Championship crowd.
A total of 3,154 people watched the pivotal encounter against Doncaster in April 2013, and Club Chairman Bill Dempsey is expecting this weekend's figure to come close.
"All the signs point towards a really bumper crowd," he said. "Worcester fans have their first opportunity to come to Jersey, and possibly the last if they achieve promotion, so they are travelling en masse."
Introduced midway through the current season, the new scheme to buy Jersey match tickets through the JT Rewards website has typically averaged around 100 tickets per match, however almost 600 tickets have been sold via JT Rewards and telephone pre-sales so far.
"Advance sales are such that we've been making sure we have extra staff and stocks to cope with the numbers," added Dempsey. "The regular order for Jersey Pride ale is up 250%, we have increased orders from suppliers across the board, and will have extra TV screens so supporters can stay at St Peter to watch the England v France Six Nations game at 5pm."
"We can't be sure about the weather, but it looks alright from this distance and I believe the Jersey public will be out to support the team in a massive match against top-ranked opposition."
The Warriors have been undefeated since losing their opening league match of the season to promotion rivals Bristol, and have a number of international players, including full-back Chris Pennell, who is the only member of the current Elite England squad playing in the Greene King IPA Championship. But Jersey will be hoping to give their rivals as good a battle as the return fixture at Sixways in November, when the home side kicked a late penalty to claim a narrow 32-29 win.
"There's been a real buzz at the club in training this week - the players are really excited to get a chance to take on opponents who are ready for the Premiership," said Head Coach Harvey Biljon. "We know Worcester will be very tough, but on our home patch with a big crowd behind us, we'll be going all out to make it a really memorable day."
Supporters are advised to buy tickets in advance to avoid match-day queues. As well as the JT Rewards site, tickets can be purchased from Red Properties and the Lamplighter pub in St Helier, the JEP offices at Five Oaks, and in person at the Rugby Club.
The club has also recommended that spectators allow extra time before the game in order to get to St Peter safely. Liberty Bus will be utilising double-decker vehicles on route 9 journeys to the club, with additional services laid on if necessary. A good supply of car parking will be available: please follow the signs.