Jersey 38 Blackheath 722/08/2015
Jersey scored six tries but were rarely ever able to find top gear against a determined Blackheath outfit.
The Islanders couldn't quite match the margin achieved 12 months previously when their National One opponents, the oldest club in England, were defeated 47-12, but will feel well prepared for the Greene King IPA Championship campaign, which begins - after a weekend off - on September 6th away to Yorkshire Carnegie.
"It was a tough day - very humid, the ball was greasy, and there was some frustration from missed opportunities, but I think both teams will have benefited from the work-out," said Jersey Head Coach Harvey Biljon. "Hopefully everyone's got through without major injuries, and if they have then selection for the game in Leeds will be difficult."
The home side had the perfect start when Aaron Penberthy's grubber kick was collected by Fautua Otto for the score, but Blackheath responded with full-back Mike Mvelase jinking through to score from close range.
Otto's second followed a scorching run from Tom Howe, and Penberthy added another Jersey touch-down before the break following a storming burst from fit-again hooker Martin Garcia-Veiga.
The visitors featured strongly during a scoreless third quarter, although Jersey's Nick Haining was inches away from finishing off his audacious kick ahead, the ball rolling agonisingly dead. Eventually the Islanders asserted themselves: Mark Cooke's burst and deft pass set up Jack Moates for the fourth try, Penberthy claimed his second and finally Jersey's pack delivered a rolling maul score for James Freeman having earlier failed to convert several similar attempts.
"We weren't at full strength and I thought the players stepped up well against good opposition - we came here wanting to frustrate Jersey and it's been a good trip for the club," said Blackheath DoR Simon Legg.
A full afternoon's rugby at St Peter also featured a Zoo Shield match between the two 2nd XVs, won 32-21 by the home team - this was a stunning result for a young Jersey side, who scored five excellent tries and withstood a late fightback by the visiting Heathens who came close to claiming a brace of bonus points late in the game; in the curtain-raising game there was a 0-43 victory for Blackheath Ladies against their Jersey counterparts.
JERSEY: Penberthy, Howe, Otto, Robling, Burroughs, Cope, Moates; Lockwood, Garcia-Veiga, Featherstone, Phillips, Campbell, Rae (capt), Butterworth, Haining.
Used replacements: Anderson, McCarthy, Herriott, Markham, Spinks, Freeman, Dudley, Cooke, McCrea, Dawson, Lane.
BLACKHEATH: Mvelase, Chapman, Burcham (capt), Watling, Lloyd, Bowyer, Walsh; Croall, Fry, Read, Gillanders, Theakston, Baldwin, Ellis, Sewell.
Used replacements: Scutt, Briant, Trotter, Baker, Haskins, Bush, Mitchell
REFEREE: Tim Wigglesworth (RFU)
Half Time: 19-7
Tries: Otto 3, 25, Penberthy 30, 64, Moates 60, Freeman 79
Conversions: Cope 3, 30, Penberthy 15, 79
Try: Mvelase 12
Conversion: Bowyer 12