A BONUS point on the road, but three injuries and a lot of regret from Raiders’ very first trip to the club which harbours big ambitions to sail through London and South East and earn another promotion.
There was a point, early in the second half, when Raiders scored their fourth try to get back to 27-29, that the Rochford masses would have been very worried.
They had seen their team, which had won just over 50 games on the bounce, put under big pressure and leak tries.
But, much to Raiders’ consternation, they couldn’t make the most of their qualities and through a few mistakes conceded two converted tries which took the game away from them.
Jordan Reynolds and his team departed with regrets, not least the injuries to Blair Campbell and Tom Teasdale, which could be long ones.
‘BC’ has a damaged medial collateral ligament in a knee and is expected to be in a brace for 6 - 8 weeks.
Could it be the last we see of our sterling former captain in a Raiders shirt?
Let us hope not.
Young Tom Teasdale tore a hamstring and is likely to be out for several weeks, while it remains to be seen what extent the damage is to Layton Batiste’s knee.
It was the injuries to the two centres in the space of a couple of minutes which really threw Raiders off course.
‘To lose our midfield in the first 15 minutes was a big blow,’ said the head coach.
‘Back rower Dom Rice went out to the wing and the two wingers went into the centre and they did well, but while we had a player's down injured they scored two of their tries,’ added Reynolds.
Those tries gave Rochford a 24-8 half time lead, but Raiders recovered well before shooting themselves in the foot.
Guernsey did come away with a four-try bonus point as scrum-half Jake O’Connor scored twice in an impressive individual performance while Anthony Armstrong and Layton Batiste also got on the score sheet, the latter being shoved over by his team-mates in the pack.
Owen Thomas added a couple of conversions to the early penalty he slotted that game Raiders a second-minute lead.
‘We did enough to get back into it but made some poor decisions from there (29-27). We missed a pretty crucial lineout and were punished,’ said Reynolds.
‘We had our chances and the thing is, if we are not all on the same page we are going to struggle.’
The coach said Rochford were a decent side, but far from unbeatable and they did not surprise him.
‘They were exactly what we thought they’d be and we set everything up to counter that. And we did in parts to be fair.
‘We had dominance at scrum time and we got penalised twice by the referee.’
The result leaves Raiders in fourth spot, five points behind Wimbledon and Rochford Hundred who have both won four from four, and Sidcup are in third.
Raiders sit one place ahead of Tunbridge Wells who lost for the first time, at home to Hertford, and come to Footes Lane this weekend.
‘We have got to improve immeasurably for Tunbridge,’ warned Reynolds.
As for Rochford, Reynolds looks forward to avenging the loss over here in the spring.
‘They are a good side, I won’t take that away for them. But I look forward to having a crack at them at home.’
The Rochford view of things was that ‘the Channel Islanders are a quality team and they showed this during the first quarter of the second half as they gained a great deal of possession and put it to good use.’
The Rochford reporter added:
‘A terrific match to watch and great character shown by every Rochford player who were heroes to a man. There were mistakes made and these will need to be worked on, but this was an excellent performance against very good opposition.’