Wilkes Cup: Athletic v Artillery this Sunday

19/03/2015

Jersey Athletic will face Army opposition for the second time in two weeks tomorrow at St Peter as they take on the Royal Artillery in the annual Wilkes Cup fixture.

Last season saw the Athletic run out comfortable winners by in a match (pictured below) that saw 11 tries shared between the two sides, in a fast-flowing, and very enjoyable game of rugby (photo courtesy of JEP).

Wilkes 14

2013/14 was of course the debut season for Jersey Athletic; a strong squad, boosted by some ex-1st XV players as well as regular rugby in the Zoo Shield, saw the Jersey side win back the trophy from the Gunners, who had been victorious the previous season.

The trophy is named in honour of former Lieutenant-Governor, General Sir Michael Wilkes KCB CBE (pictured below), who was an enthusiastic follower of JRFC during his time in office, and also subsequently between his retirement in 2001 and his death in 2013.

_73111265_michaelwilkes2

The Wilkes silverware was formerly contested annually between Jersey and the Isle of Man, alternating between the two islands in the same way that the Siam cup does. However, when flights and costs, as well as the pressure of league rugby made this unviable, the new format was agreed with the Royal Artillery. Matches between Jersey and the Royal Artillery go back a long way, with the first recorded meeting in 1876 pre-dating the officially-recognised foundation date of JRFC (1879).

This will be the ninth meeting of the two clubs in the context of the Wilkes Cup with the tally currently resting 5-1 to the Islanders, with one draw and one cancelled match.

Admission to Sunday's match, which kicks off at 2pm, is free. From 12noon a Sunday carvery will be available in the Clubhouse at £15 per head, or supporters can enjoy a hearty beef roll for a fiver. No pre-bookings is required, and hung-over Worcester supporters are welcome, perhaps en route to the airport and their flights home.

The match follows the first-ever meeting between a Jersey side and the British Army earlier this month, with the visitors claiming a 7-31 win against Jersey Athletic as part of their build-up to the annual match against the Royal Navy in May.

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