Ayr RFC 14 - Jersey RFC 1318/01/2014
Ayr RFC 14 Jersey RFC 13
British & Irish Cup, Pool 6
by William Church
Jersey finished their Pool 6 B&I cup campaign in 3rd place following a narrow bonus point defeat by Scottish Champions, Ayr RFC.
Played on a wet and slippery pitch, the game started evenly, before Ayr were reduced to 14 men. Jersey sniffed their opportunity and having been awarded a penalty in the middle of the pitch on the Ayr 10m line, opted to kick for the corner. From the resulting line out, the visitors took the ball cleanly and drove over the Ayr line, but it was adjudged to be held up. There then resulted in a scrum and 4 or 5 resets before a Penalty Try was finally awarded as the Ayr scrum-half dived in to the back of the scrum to kill the ball. Pointer converted to make it 0-7, and Ayr were reduced to 13 players.
As was the case in Jersey, Ayr never stopped trying to play the ball despite being numerically disadvantaged, and they weathered the next 10 mins or so until back to full strength. Ayr then took the play to Jersey and got just rewards on the break of half time with a converted try of their own.
Following the break Ayr again looked to attack, and were keen to try and pass the ball around in spite of the worsening conditions, but it was Jersey who were to take the lead again, and then extend it to 7-13 with two Pointer penalties.
Play switched from one side to the other without either side really gaining the upper hand, and then came the telling moment. Ayr were awarded a penalty on the Jersey 10m line and instead of taking the points on offer, opted to kick for a lineout in the corner. Following successive line-outs, a couple of penalties and scrums which the Jersey pack staunchly defended, Ayr eventually moved the ball wide and through the hands to full-back Anderson who went over for the vital score to the right of the posts. Russell converted to make it 14-13, and that was how it stayed.
Pirates topped Pool 6 with 5 wins from 6 (25 points) and secure a home draw for the quarter-final. Ulster Ravens finished 2nd (13 points), then Jersey RFC (12 points) and Ayr RFC (10 points).
The quarter final draw takes place on Monday 27th January. Pirates, Leinster 'A', Bristol and Leeds will have home ties as the four qualifiers with the best records. The away teams, in no particular order, will be Rotherham, Plymouth, Munster 'A' and Pontypridd. The quarter-finals will be played on the first weekend of April.
Jersey: Copsey, Pointer, Locke (Foster), McCrea, Dawson, Dudley, Griffiths, McCarthy (Taione), Felton, Selway (Brennan), Anderson, Campbell (Markham), Voss, Buckle, Brown (Silcock)
Replacements not used: Michel, Williams
Ayr: Anderson, McCluskey, Bennett, Kelbrick, Fergusson, Russell, Jericevich (McConnell), Reid (Scott), Malcolm (Rae), Hunter (Cox), Templeton, Sutherland, Fisken, Brown, McCallum
Replacements not used: Dunlop, Redmayne, Gossman
Referee: James McPhail
Half time: 7-7
Penalties: Pointer x 2
Tries: McCallum, Anderson
Conversions: Russell x 2
YC: Sutherland, Jericevich