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Virtual National Game Awards 2019-20: Step 5/6 Player of the Year – Jay Giles

Jay Giles

By David Richardson

Jay Giles and his Jersey Bulls teammates believe they can triumph again following their flawless season.

The 24-year-old left-back played a key part in their outstanding National League System debut which saw them win all 27 of their Combined Counties League Division One matches.

It was enough to mathematically confirm promotion in March but when the Covid-19 pandemic struck and the season declared null and void, it was a particularly difficult pill to swallow.

“Obviously it wasn’t ideal but it was under extreme circumstances and nothing anyone could have control over,” Giles, the popular choice for Step 5/6 Player of the Year, told The NLP.

“We still know what we achieved and we’re hoping there will be an opportunity for us to play higher.”

The Channel Islanders scored 99 goals and conceded just seven as they romped past every opposition under manager Gary Freeman.

“From the start of the season when Jersey Bulls formed, our aim was to be promoted,” said Giles.

“Even we were surprised to be in that position. Although we didn’t expect to win every game, with the talent in our squad and the standards we demand from each other it was no surprise.

“It’s been nice this season to chip in, I get quite a lot of opportunities to take set pieces and crossing is one of my stronger abilities and I always help with quite a few assists.”

In order to meet the punishing schedule from overseas, Jersey would have to set off early for their away matches, catching a flight across the Channel which sometimes didn’t go to plan.

“Farnham was the pick of the bunch,” Gilles reflected. “We were late arriving so we got dressed on the coach, it parked at the top of the hill and we had to run down straight onto the pitch ready for kick-off, no warm-up.

“As the final whistle went we ran straight off back onto the coach and to the airport. It was something we’d never experienced before but it’s all part of it. We’re prepared to do whatever it takes to get to the games.”

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