Jersey return to St Peter this Saturday, aiming to back up the excellent win at Moseley with a victory on home soil.
The visitors for the Greene King IPA Championship match, which kicks off at the slightly earlier time of 2.45pm, are Bedford Blues, the longest-standing members of the Championship, having just embarked on their 16th consecutive season at this level.
Jersey's Head Coach Harvey Biljon has the luxury of making the fewest changes to any of his match-day squads so far this season, with just three changes to his starting XV and three resultant alterations on the replacements' bench.
Joel Dudley has been selected in place of Jack Moates at scrum half, and in the pack flanker (and captain) Alex Rae and second row Nick Campbell return after injury, replacing Charlie Butterworth and Dave Markham respectively. Butterworth and Markham revert to the bench, which will feature a 5:2 split of forwards and backs this week, with Tommy Spinks and Mark Cooke the men missing out.
Since Jersey arrived in the Championship three seasons ago, the two sides have been evenly-matched, with three wins apiece. The last two games at St Peter have been wins for the Reds, by 26-14 at the start of 2013/14 and 17-3 this February; however the most significant result was the 31-41 win at Goldington Road in April 2014 which secured Jersey's league survival at the expense of Ealing Trailfinders.
Overall Jersey have scored 144 points across the six games to Blues' 140, although Bedford have claimed 15 match points to the Islanders' 14.
Bedford started the season with maximum points from their games against Bristol - a stunning 23-29 success at Ashton Gate - and Moseley, but then lost momentum in the second half of September with defeats against both of the 'Exiles' clubs. Last weekend they hosted Nottingham and the match finished in a 28-19 win, leaving the Blues sixth in the Championship table, two places and six points above Jersey.
The day of the Bedford match will feature a special theme as the home club and its supporters work to raise funds for the local charity Jersey Action Against Rape (JAAR).
JAAR was founded in January this year with the aim of preventing and healing the trauma of rape and sexual assault, supporting those who have gone through this ordeal, and their families, and working to educate the public and raise awareness of the issues involved.
The RFU has sanctioned a one-off strip which will be worn by Jersey's players, with the limited edition shirts auctioned off and a number of other fund-raising activities around the ground and in the corporate marquee.
The latter part of the day will also feature Rugby World Cup action on the big screens, with Wales taking on Australia at 4.45pm followed by England against Uruguay at 8pm.
Jersey v Bedford - GKIPA Championship, Sat Oct 10th, St Peter, k-o 2.45pm
Alex Rae (capt)
31 Mar 2023
Five games remain to define Championship season