Jersey determined to push Guernsey athletes all the way

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Although Island Games multi-gold medallist Dale Garland is the best-known of the visiting athletes, pentathlete Kimberley Goodall and Lee Merrien also performed to a consistently high standard last year in Manchester.Since then all three of them have continued to feature at national level, with Merrien adding a new Guernsey record for the 5,000m – a record which had stood for the previous 32 years – for good measure.By comparison Jersey have no main headline-makers.

What they do have, however, is a solid and hard-working squad of athletes who will be aiming to make the Guernsey stars work hard for every point.Peter Irving will be snapping at Garland’s heels in the 110m and 400m hurdles, while Paul Derrien will once again be favourite to earn Jersey points in the throws.Simon Phelan is a clear favourite in the high jump and will be looking to land an official 2m jump, having cleared it in practice.

Other home favourites such as Kieran Palmer, Scott Roberts and the evergreen Alan Harrison will ensure that Guernsey won’t have it all their own way.In the women’s events Jersey will be competing without Claire Lidster and will be looking to Millfield students Lauren Thérin and Tara Murphy to earn them points.

Guernsey’s fourth Commonwealth Games athlete, Penny Buckingham, does not travel and this might open the way for Jersey to land a one-two in the 3,000m.There are full programmes at senior, under-17, under-15 and under-13 level with the under-11s having a shorter programme.

The total points (excluding the under-11s) will decide the destination of the overall trophy.

Very much, therefore, depends on the junior athletes of both islands.Both Jersey and Guernsey are presently running successful development programmes and competition will be of a very high quality.Generally speaking, Guernsey are expected to have the edge on the track – especially in the longer distance events – while Jersey should be stronger in the throws and jumps.Philip Brewster, Regional Head of Global Private Banking for British Isles and Asia, Royal Bank of Canada (Channel Islands) Ltd, sponsors of this year’s event, said: ‘RBC has a strong tradition of supporting amateur sports in communities throughout the world, and we are naturally honoured to be given the opportunity to become involved in such an important sporting event.’Having a strong RBC presence in both islands means that, come the weekend, I will have to remain strictly neutral.

However, if you were to ask me who will win, it must be both Channel Islands athletics, plus the supporters who turn up to witness this unique, high class event.’ The inter-insular begins at midday on Saturday and at 12.30pm on Sunday at the FB Fields.

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