Basingstoke RFC look to complete double over Guernsey

Basingstoke Gazette: Steve Hicks is back in contention following a long injury lay-off. Buy this photo » Steve Hicks is back in contention following a long injury lay-off.

BASINGSTOKE RFC will be looking to record their second National League Three London double of the season when Guernsey travel to Down Grange on Saturday.

The two teams served up a thriller earlier in the season on the Channel Island, as ’Stoke scored two tries in the last nine minutes to snatch victory away from the home side, winning 33-31.

A repeat performance would do very nicely and wipe out the memory of last weekend’s disappointing loss against visiting Bury St Edmunds, a defeat described by Basingstoke RFC’s director of rugby James Croker as death by a thousand cuts.

Croker said: “We made too many errors and we will be looking to put this right in training this week.

“So many people thought we failed in the lineouts. When we looked at the data, we won 75 per cent on our own throw and we would look for it to be at 80, so we were not that far away. I think it was errors away from the lineout that cost us.”

For Saturday’s game, ’Stoke will be without Ryan Wilkie as he broke his arm in Saturday’s loss and will now be out for six weeks.

Fly-half Adam Davies could also be unavailable for a second game, but back row Steve Hicks is back in contention.

He played for the Dragons last weekend, his first game back after he broke his eye socket in the brutal home game with Hertford in November.

’Stoke will face a visiting side in good form, with five wins in their last six starts, and this includes a victory over previously unbeaten leaders Dorking.

Looking ahead to the game, Croker said: “Guernsey have some hard-running forwards and their defence will batter you, but we are ready for them.

“We have to make sure we get our noses in front, and we know we can compete with any team in this league.”

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