Jersey 28 Ayr 1612/10/2013
Jersey 26 Ayr 18
British & Irish Cup, Pool 6
by Tom Innes
Jersey had to battle until the final stages to nail down maximum points against a plucky Ayr side who refused to lie down.
The visitors only had the full 15 players on the field for the opening 21 minutes, and were down to 13 men for the final quarter after a second red card.
Fly-half Finn Russell scored the first half points for the Scottish Champions, finishing off a fine counter-attack with a try and adding a conversion and penalty. Aaron Penberthy responded with a try and conversion for Jersey in a rare attack for the home side, who made a number of handling errors.
Ayr had already lost Scott Sutherland to the sin-bin when flanker Andy Dunlop was sent off by referee Dan Jones for swinging an arm at an opponent and making partial contact.
Jersey's scrum dominance led to another yellow card for Ayr prop George Hunter, who was banished permanently halfway through the second half for preventing quick ball as his side battled to defend their lead. Jersey took the lead directly afterwards with another seven points from Penberthy, and looked to have made the game safe when replacement Mark McCrea released Tom Fidler and the prop made a thunderous charge to the line for the try.
Russell's 40-metre penalty could have gained a bonus point for his side, but in fact it was James Copsey who grabbed the bonus with his side's fourth try as the ball was worked to the right wing after being claimed from the restart.
While the visiting squad, officials and supporters were left cursing the decisions that left them short-handed on the field, Jersey were pleased to get this season's B&I campaign off to a winning start.
Jersey: Burroughs (McCrea 65), Copsey, Locke, Cooper, Dawson, Penberthy (O'Connor 70), Williams (Dudley 61); Fidler, Felton (Stratford 46), Selway (Brennan 62), Anderson (Maidment 58), Markham, Voss, Buckle, Brown (capt) (Rae 68).
Ayr: Anderson (capt), Gossman C (Taylor 62), Dalgleish, Fergusson, Gossman K (McCluskey 65), Russell, Jericevich (McConnell 62); Mutamangira, Scott (Young 24, Fenwick 72)), Hunter, Williamson (Rae 42-49, 61), Sutherland, McCallum (Dunn 72), Dunlop, Templeton.
Referee: Dan Jones (WRU)
Star Man: Joe Buckle (Jersey)
Tries: Penberthy 21, 58, Fidler 68, Copsey 74
Conversions: Penberthy 21, 58, 68, O'Connor 68
Try: Russell 34
Conversion: Russell 34
Penalties: Russell 10, 46, 72