The final stretch of the 2011/12 campaign looks set to be an exciting one for JRFC, particularly with the 1st XV still in pole position at the top of National One.
The recent slip-up against Barking has added to the tension, with every game a 'must-win' affair and bonus points potentially vital.
After a clear weekend (although the squad were training) the squad returned to action at home against Cambridge this Saturday, and registered an impressive 51-14 win. This will be followed by the long journey to Tynedale on March 31st. Following a bye weekend over Easter, the season finishes with Macclesfield and Fylde at St Peter in April, either side of the visit to Coventry.
1st XV home games
You will have noticed that large crowds have become the norm for home games at St Peter, and our final three matches on home soil should be no different.
The club has taken further measures to ease congestion by opening additional entrances and making extra arrangements for catering and toilets. We'd also ask for help from members:
* please arrive in good time to avoid congestion immediately
* get the bus to the game, or a lift if possible. Car parking is available, but again please allow extra time to get to the ground and park
* if possible get your tickets in advance from the club shop, from Red Properties on the Esplanade in St Helier, or from the Jersey Evening Post at Five Oaks.
We'll be having a gathering for members in the Barclays Wealth Pavilion on Friday April 13th, from 6 to 7pm. The bar will be open, with food laid on, and a chance to catch up on the latest news from the club.
Ground improvements at St Peter
While it is far from certain in which league Jersey will be competing next season, the rise in crowd numbers means we are looking at making the most of our space at St Peter to accommodate the growing levels of interest.
Subject to planning consent, we hope to start work soon on a terrace behind the goal at the eastern end of the ground. This would be a four-step terrace with the highest step 60cm above pitch level, and would significantly increase the capacity at this end to close to 1,000, and also include extra toilets, plus a new pavement on Rue des Landes outside the ground.
Further plans have been submitted to the States this week covering the clubhouse, which it is hoped will enable us to extend backwards and upwards to include a larger bar space, new gym, members' area, increased office and kitchen space, plus accommodation for players.
In addition to planning approval, the plans for the clubhouse will also require suitable funding to be in place, plus the approval of members at a general meeting - details to be confirmed.
Finally we have applied for permission to use pitch 3 as a parking area on match-days, with direct access from the main (airport) road to make access as safe and convenient as possible.
Siam Cup, Saturday May 5th
After consultation with Guernsey it has been decided that this year's Siam will be contested by full-strength 1st XVs. The main game will be at Footes Lane, Guernsey at 3pm on May 5th, preceded by the Nash Cup for Veterans and the Fallaize for 2nd XVs.
The club has arranged return travel on the day with Condor Ferries, with supporters, players and officials travelling back together on the Saturday evening.
The outward Condor crossing leaves St Helier at 0905, and takes an hour to St Peter Port, arriving in good time to get to Footes Lane before the first match starts. The return crossing leaves St Peter Port at 1835, arriving back at St Helier at 1935.
Members wishing to secure their place on the boat should book online at www.condorferries.com- the price is £30 return for everyone aged 16 or over, including students and OAPs. Those aged 4 to 15 will be charged £20 return, while the under 4s are free.
There is an allocation of seats for JRFC members, however these will be sold on a 'first-come-first-served' basis, so members are encouraged to book as soon as possible - availability cannot be guaranteed.
Coach transfers in Guernsey from the harbour to Footes Lane have been booked and tickets can be purchased from the club during office hours, or on match days, at £5 (return) per person.
Honours' Ball, Friday May 11th
The end of the season will be marked with a gala evening at the club, with a marquee on the 1st XV pitch with players, members and sponsors all in attendance. The Black Tie evening will feature welcome drinks, a three-course meal from Harpers Catering, presentation of awards for the season, a late bar and disco. Tickets are £50 per head and members are encouraged to assemble tables of 10 (guests, up to a maximum of five per table, are permitted). Smaller groups of up to six people can also be accommodated on mixed tables, although it isn't possible to guarantee who you will sit next to.
To book your place at the Honours' Ball, please contact the Club Manager by email email@example.com.
The 2nd XV had a hard-fought game against the touring side from St Peter's in Cardiff before losing by the odd try in five -12-17.
Unfortunately planned fixtures against Richmond and Guernsey 2nds in recent weeks were called off, firstly due to fog, and secondly with the opposition receiving a number of late cry-offs. This was a disappointing outcome.
The club will be working hard to ensure that a good number of competitive fixtures are obtained for the 2nds in 2012/13.
Supporters who are going to Tynedale on March 31st and have not yet made arrangements regarding lunch, please contact Tom Innes so that we can liaise with the host club.
On April 21st at Coventry RFC there will be a charity men v women match in aid of Help for Heroes. This starts at 2pm and there will also be a raffle, plus live music after the 1st XV game (kick-off at 3pm). This should be a great day for those who can get to Butts Park Arena that day.
Academy members are getting ready for their own Inter-Insular weekend which will take place on Saturday April 14th, in Guernsey. We hope all those involved from JRFC have an enjoyable, and successful trip.
The Youth team have three home games in April - see fixtures below - and we hope there will be a good turnout of supporters to cheer on our young stars.
There have also been a number of representative calls on our players, including Chris Levesley with London & South East at the RFU Under 18 Divisional Festival, several Hampshire call-ups and Dominic Mayo's trip to Leicester Tigers for a trial which he hopes will lead to another trip early next season.
Dave McCormack organised the Lord Jersey Cup on March 15th. Seven Jersey schools were joined by a representative side from Guernsey in the tournament, which was eventually won by the visitors after a 10-0 win over De La Salle in the final. Prizes were presented by Ben Kay, a late replacement for Jonathan Davies due to serious family illness, and Ben also spoke at a sold-out dinner at JRFC that evening.
A Schools 7s event was organised by the RDO and Rich Picot from Victoria College. Two Vic College teams competed against two from De La Salle, Highlands, Hautlieu, and invitational sides the Jersey Pups (JRFC Under 16s managed by Nicky Griffiths, Nathan Hannay and Guy Thompson) and the Jersey Barbarians (managed by the RDO).
The final was between DLS A and DLS B with DLS A winning. Highlands beat the Pups in the Plate Final. Hautlieu beat the Barbarians in the Bowl final and Vic A beat Vic B in the spoon final.
Ben Harvey presented the trophy to the winning captain Luke Huelin and the JRA sponsored Player of the Tournament went to the Jersey Pups'Matt Michel.
Dave McCormack said: "Some very good rugby played by all the teams involved and this was an excellent way to give the 16-19 year olds extra games, and to promote the opportunities available with the JRA."
JRFC on Facebook
Did you know that JRFC has recently increased its presence on Facebook, check out our page at www.facebook.com/pages/Jersey-Rugby-Club/188464141192916and please click 'like' (if you do!). And of course we are old hands at Twitter - twitter.com/jerseyrfc- and have almost reeled in Fylde, who have (for the time being) the most followers of any Nat 1 club!