Issue 90 - Page 58

© Guernsey Sports Photography



Andea Harris Chair of Guernsey Raiders Rugby Club was recently interviewed by Rugby Club Magazine .
© Michael Marshall
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN INVOLVED AND WHAT FIRST ATTRACTED YOU TO THE CLUB ? I moved to Guernsey in late 2012 , and one of the first friends that I made played for the Ladies ’ team . She badgered me for about a year and a half , before I finally gave in and went to rugby training for the first time . I was lucky enough to debut in our first league match in September 2014 and have been playing ever since .
In July 2015 , I was asked to join the Committee as Treasurer , a role I held for 3 years until I became Vice Chair , and then Joint Chair , both for a year at a time . In July 2021 , I was elected as the first female Chair of the Raiders , a proud club with over 100 years of history . The club spirit and camaraderie is second to none , and our club has a great community atmosphere which keeps people coming back for more .
WHAT ARE THE MOST CHALLENGING AND REWARDING ASPECTS OF YOUR ROLE ? Being Chair of a club is like having a second job ! Keeping the club ticking over as a viable going concern has been particularly difficult these past 18 months , but with the continued support of the club ’ s management committee – a number of volunteers who give hundreds of hours of their time for the love of the game each year – it really is a team effort to keep the club ’ s door ’ s open , and allow the teams to compete as part of
the mainland competitions . The recent lockdowns have also helped us realise our important contribution to the local Guernsey community as a place to come , meet , and enjoy watching rugby .
HOW ’ S THE GENERAL MOOD DOWN AT THE CLUB AT THE MOMENT ? HOW WOULD YOU SAY THE YEAR HAS GONE FOR THE CLUB SO FAR ? After 18 months without competitive , external rugby fixtures , we are so grateful to be in a position to fulfil our mainland league commitments for both our men ’ s and ladies ’ senior teams . The men have had a brilliant start to their season , winning 7 of their first 10 matches . Last time we earned promotion to National 2 , we won only 8 games for the entire season , so our start has put us into a good place to hopefully consolidate as a solid National 2 team .
Our Ladies have seen somewhat of a “ changing of the guard ” in the past 2 years , as many of those involved in starting up the team and getting into the league format have retired , and a number of new faces have joined the fold . It has been a tough start to the season losing the first four matches , but with each game comes visible improvement , and our first win came in our most recent league fixture . Again , we hope to have a season in which remain in the National Challenge 1 league .
It is fantastic to be hosting home fixtures again and having supporters in the stands , cheering our teams on . We usually see 600-800 people at a National 2 home game fixture , which is something that many of our opposition teams are not accustomed to . It certainly goes a long way to giving us that home ground advantage that is so often sought after .
HOW IMPORTANT IS YOUTH RUGBY TO THE CLUB ? HOW DOES THE CLUB ENSURE THAT YOUNG PLAYERS ENJOY A SMOOTH TRANSITION INTO THE SENIOR GAME ? Youth rugby is the future of the Raiders , and of rugby in Guernsey . The Guernsey Rugby Academy oversees age grade rugby from Tots to Colts . Team managers and coaches work hard to find opportunities for the Academy teams to play competitive fixtures against mainland teams , and keep children interested as they move through the age grades , and dabble in other sports .
We have a Player Development Pathway to