HARVEY BILJON admits he was left ‘frustrated’ after last week’s match at Doncaster Knights was called off due to adverse weather.
While much of Yorkshire was hit by heavy snow, with conditions in Doncaster dropping to sub-zero temperatures, it is understood that Knights did not use pitch covers at their Castle Park ground, unlike English Football League Two club Doncaster Rovers, whose home match against Wimbledon went ahead.
It means Jersey Reds, who entertain Hartpury at Stade Santander tomorrow [2pm kick-off], will likely have to forego their free slot on 8-9 April to reschedule the Knights game and, as a result, face at least eight consecutive weekends of rugby.
‘We’re frustrated that the fixture was called off,’ admitted Reds’ director of rugby.
‘The momentum we had and the confidence we have going from the Caldy exchange would have been great to go out there and take on the challenge away to Doncaster. The difficult position it puts us in now is how we fit that game in between now and the end of the season and that means an extended run of week-after-week rugby. It’s going to be a real challenge for the players and the support team.
‘We won’t make excuses and we’ll get on with it, but it’s frustrating when you feel we should have got the game on.’
The postponement allowed Ealing Trailfinders to stretch their lead at the top of the Championship table to six points and Biljon is wary of the threat that Hartpury can propose to the Reds’ title ambitions.
The Gloucestershire club,currently sitting in fifth, have had an inconsistent season but five of their nine wins have come on the road.
‘This is a tough, tough league. Everyone has beaten everyone, so if we are off by a couple of percent, we’ll be under pressure,’ said Biljon. ‘We need to stay focused primarily on ourselves, get our own things right and execute our own detail. But we know Hartpury will be a real threat.
‘They’ve got a pack that can compete, they’ve got very dangerous backs and on any day when you watch Hartpury and they get the bounce of the ball, you’re going to be under pressure. We need to make sure we stay on top of our game plan.
‘The players want to get out in the field again. We put in a great result against Caldy [71-14 win on 4 March] and we want to do that again and keep the rhythm going. We want to make sure we can we can put in a performance and, I think at this stage of the season, players are recognising that there are big games ahead. Performance, form, attitude, all those things pay a huge part in selection for these big games.’
Jersey have seven league games remaining between now and the final day of 2022/23, on Saturday 29 April. They travel to Cornish Pirates six days later for a Championship Cup semi-final clash. The final, should they progress, is scheduled for the weekend of 13 May.