Jersey's women seeking to extend Muratti winning run

Jersey's women seeking to extend Muratti winning run
Chad Morris has led Jersey's women's team since 2018 - photo credit Simon Roe

Coach Chad Morris is in confident mood as he leads Jersey's women into this weekend's Muratti, but anticipates coming up against a Guernsey side that will try to go "toe-to-toe" with them, in front a big crowd at Footes Lane.

Saturday's game is a first home Women's Muratti for the Sarnians since 2015, and a chance for the greens to get a real sense of "where they're at" ahead of hosting the Island Games this summer. A positive result could be just the springboard they need for a memorable few months under new management in their own back yard.

A victory for Jersey, though, would be their 10th Muratti success in a row. "I'm confident, as I always am in our squad," said Morris, who's approaching five years in charge of Jersey FA's women's representative side. "They're always up for playing for Jersey, always proud to wear the shirt, and find it a big honour.

"I'm expecting them to have a fairly big crowd. We had the record last year and I'd expect them to be up there in the 600s. I think with the home crowd backing them they're going to come out and to try to go toe-to-toe with us."

Last season, in that first women's Muratti for six years, Jersey ran out 5-0 winners at Springfield. Sounds easy. It wasn't. It was goalless at half time.

Jersey have won 15 of the 21 Women's Muratti fixtures played to date.

"We got in at half time and we knew we were getting in the right positions, it was just a case of fine tuning the final ball," said Morris, casting his mind back 12 months.

"As soon as we got one and then we got two, it just changed the whole complex of the game. They then had to come out at us to get back into the game and it just opens up. I think that's how, as it went on, we ran out worthy winners.

"When you're going to play against teams like that, you're made to work hard to get that first and second goal and then that will change the whole outlook of the game."

There have been some tough calls to whittle the squad down to 16 to make the trip on Saturday morning. Jersey are without injured defender Sophie Botterill, but have the likes of Danny Da Silva, Leah Morris and Macey Wyse back from university.

"The best way to describe the squad is balanced," Morris told "It's balanced in a positional sense, and it's balanced in an experience sense.

"You've got the top-age experience players, in Eve Watson, Libby Barnett and Lauren Quemard. You've got your mid-20s players in Tiff Sundby, Hannah Campbell and Holly Muirhead. And then you've got your younger players coming through, which is more or less the rest of the squad.

"When we picked the Island Games squad and then the Muratti squad, we're picking from 30 players now because of the work the clubs are doing and the work the Player Development Centre is doing. There's a conveyor belt of players, so it was tough to pick it."

Guernsey have scored one Women's Muratti goal in the past decade (in a 5-1 loss in 2014).

Guernsey are under new leadership after Richard Sutton stepped down as manager. Anna Gauvain was named head coach just last month - in at the deep end with the Muratti and home Island Games, but what a way to start.

On their opposition, Morris added: "There's two or three in there that I know, and then all we can do is look back on the footage from last year and go off that.

"The majority of it though is completely concentrating on what our game plan will be and how we will attack them."

Most neutrals would expect Jersey to do most of that attacking this weekend, despite being the away side, but then again... there won't be many neutrals in the Footes Lane crowd for this one.

Saturday's game kicks off at 10:30am, ahead of the men's fixture at the same venue.

Guernsey squad: Emma Queripel, Ioana Martel, Joelle Priaulx, Lynsey Stanton, Olivia Smith, Scarlett Gallagher, Scarlett Kenneally, Steph Batiste, Aimee Ogier, Amy Dallamore, Candice Bougourd, Codie Le Flem, Donna Gallienne, Adrienne Leech, Calleigh Hedley, Elise Le Lacheur.

Jersey squad: Soraya da Conceicao, Ana Malta, Tiff Sundby, Poppy Benest, Danny Da Silva, Lauren Quemard, Sofia Rodrigues, Libby Barnett, Leah Morris, Holly Muirhead, Eve Watson, Ella Docherty, Oliva Labesse, Macey Wyse, Roisin Flynn, Hannah Campbell.