Jersey Reds have once again looked north in supplementing their injury-hit squad.
Fly-half Tom Pittman has made the permanent move to the Island from Boroughmuir Bears, the Edinburgh-based side who play in the semi-professional FOSROC Super 6 league. This follows the recent signing of prop Steven Longwell from league rivals Watsonians.
Prior to his departure, Pittman was top points-scorer in this season’s Super 6, kicking a total of 71 points in the league, which kicked off in late July.
The 21-year-old was born in Kent but spent most of his childhood in the south-west of England and attended King’s College in Taunton and the University of Bath.
Director of Rugby Harvey Biljon said he was pleased to be adding a promising young player to his squad at a time when there remained some injury concerns.
“Tom is a player who I believe could really develop his game in a fully professional environment – he’s fitted in well and is in contention for our Championship match at Doncaster this weekend,” Biljon said. “We have been without both Sam Leeming and Brendan Cope due to injuries during the early weeks of the season and so Tom’s arrival is well-timed.”
A spokesperson for Boroughmuir Bears said: “Everyone at Boroughmuir wishes Tom the best of luck in the next stage of his career. He will always be welcome at Meggetland.”
While Brendan Owen, normally a wing or full-back, has filled in successfully in the number 10 shirt, another player with experience at fly-half has made a temporary loan move to a National One club. Bader Pretorius has joined Chinnor and made his debut as a replacement last weekend.
Biljon said: “Bader had an injury in pre-season and has been working his way back to fitness – what he needs now is some regular game-time which I believe this move will provide.”
It has also been confirmed that another member of the Reds squad has departed after earning an opportunity with a top-flight club. Prop Ciaran Parker has signed for Gallagher Premiership side London Irish, following in the footsteps of a large number of players who have developed their game in the RFU Championship before making similar moves.
Parker moved to the Island from Munster in summer 2020 and while Championship rugby was suspended made a short-term return to Ireland later the same year to provide injury cover for Leinster. He was back in Jersey by the start of 2021 and was a key player in the Reds’ truncated Championship season between March and May.
Around 30 players have moved ‘onwards and upwards’ to top-flight clubs after spending time in Jersey during the Reds’ nine seasons as a Championship club. These include Jake Woolmore (Bristol Bears), Harry Williams (Exeter Chiefs and England), Richard Barrington (Saracens), Gary Graham (Newcastle Falcons and Scotland), Nick Haining (Bristol Bears, Edinburgh and Scotland), Matt Rogerson (London Irish), Kieran Hardy (Scarlets and Wales) and Guy Thompson (Wasps and Leicester Tigers). Thompson returned to the Island this summer after seven seasons playing in the Premiership.
After successive wins to start their 2021/22 Championship campaign, the Reds take on Doncaster Knights at Castle Park this weekend, and will next be in action on their home turf at Stade Santander International when they entertain Ampthill on Saturday October 23rd.
Picture credits: SNS/Scottish Rugby (Tom Pittman); Rich Chapman (Ciaran Parker)