Jersey 18 London Scottish 3107/03/2015
Jersey's early promise produced a 15-3 lead and a real fright for third-placed London Scottish, but the Exiles recovered to register a victory that further enhanced their play-off credentials.
Drew Locke's brace of tries had helped his side dominate the early exchanges, but Jersey faded and conceded 18 unanswered points in the second half to finish well-beaten.
Peter Lydon's penalty gave the visitors an early lead, but Jersey were enjoying the driest conditions at St Peter for three months and used the opportunity to show their running skills. Drew Locke scored two well-worked tries, the second after some fine approach play by Fautua Otto after the Samoan had fielded a Scottish kick.
The Scots were able to get back into the game, gaining field position from a penalty kick to touch, and then unveiling their powerful maul. A penalty advantage presented the chance to feed the backs and Matt Williams burst through by the posts. Further Exiles' pressure before the break brought a second penalty for Lydon and a yellow card for Jersey's Lewis Robling for tackling the man without the ball.
Aaron Penberthy's early penalty enabled the hosts to stretch their narrow half-time lead to five points, but it was to be Jersey's final impact on the scoreboard.
Mark Bright was at the heart of the Scottish revival, scoring the try that helped his side take a lead they never surrendered, and when the Exiles skipper crashed to the ground at a lineout, Jersey replacement Ignacio Lancuba was sin-binned for taking the man in the air.
Two more Lydon penalties enabled Scottish to pull clear of the Islanders, and another mauled try for Bright added some late gloss.
While many Jersey supporters agreed that Exiles were deserved winners, there was disappointment that the 2-0 tally of yellow cards was not a fair reflection of the play, which included some borderline tackling in the first half, including Williams taking out both Sami Fisilau and Aaron Penberthy as they contested a high ball, but escaping with a warning.
Head Coach Harvey Biljon was disappointed to witness his side fading after their promising start.
"Our attitude and our game plan were right, it was good to watch us show we can play rugby on a firmer pitch and I think Scottish were rattled," he said. "But we didn't adapt to some of the referee's interpretations and we had some silly moments of ill-discipline, and in a game of small margins those errors can make a difference."
Biljon admitted that tackling league leaders Worcester Warriors - Jersey's next opponents - would be formidable.
"It's certainly an almighty challenge, and Worcester will be looking to move up a gear as they approach the last month before the play-offs, but we need to enjoy the chance to test ourselves against a top side."
London Scottish Director of Rugby Mike Friday was a happy man after watching his side's victory.
"We knew we were up against a good team with a physical pack and decent backs and that we'd need to match Jersey in order to compete," he said. "In the first quarter our mistakes were hurting us and I was concerned, but we started to hold onto the ball and asserted ourselves.
"Our control of the game was good in the second half, and while
we didn't make the most of all our chances, I'm very happy with the
JERSEY: Penberthy, Foster, Locke, McCrea, Otto, Robling, Fisilau (Glynn 72); Lockwood (Lancuba 63), Garcia-Veiga (Buckle 62), Williams (Herriott 62), Campbell, Phillips (Markham 54), Rae (c), Hodson, Haining (Lockwood 69-77, Kaho 77). Not used: Bentley
LONDON SCOTTISH: Millar, Williams, Moffat, Hawke (Doneghan 62), Mantella, Lydon, Stevenson (Heeks 75); Hallam (Lilley 54), Stephenson (Cherry 72), Prescott (Maguire 54), Thomas-Brown (Preocanin 69), Phillips, Gillanders, Ludlow (Walker 69), Bright.
Referee: Steve Lee (RFU)
Man-of-the-match (as chosen by match sponsor Randalls): Mark Bright (London Scottish)
Half Time: 15-13
Tries: Locke 11, 22
Conversion: Penberthy 11
Penalty: Penberthy 20, 42
Tries: Williams 27, Bright 55, 77
Conversions: Lydon 27, 55
Penalties: Lydon 5, 34, 60, 71