London Scottish 13 Jersey Reds 2210/12/2016
Jersey had to work hard and come from behind to secure a crucial victory over the Scots in Pool 1 of the B&I cup, that very much keeps their hopes of qualification to the knock-out stages alive.
On an overcast day, and in front of a very vocal crowd, Jersey were first on to the scoresheet with a converted try scored by Joe Buckle. This came following an opening period when both sides kicked for territory, trying to force an error, before Jersey won a penalty that Sam Katz placed perfectly in the corner to set up the lineout for the catch and drive that was perfectly executed.
Scottish recovered from the early set-back and produced a period of very fluid play that culminated in a well-taken try by winger Alec Coombes that went unconverted.
The Reds were reduced to 14 when Kuki Ma'afu picked up a yellow card for a high tackle on the half hour, and Peter Lydon converted the penalty to put the Exiles ahead - 8-7.
Parity in numbers followed as London Scottish lost prop Grant Shiells to the 'bin' for failing to hold up the scrum, but there were no further scores in the half.
Following the break the London Scottish extended their lead as Coombes crossed for his second, and the Reds were having to play catch up. This they did effectively, particularly in the set-piece where superiority in the scrum brought successive penalties, and a Katz conversion reduced the deficit to 13-10.
Jersey pressed further and finally got their second score when Gary Graham went over from another rolling maul. Katz added the extras to stretch the visitors' lead that they were never to relinquish.
The homeside had one last chance from a 22 drop out, knowing that they'd have to go the length of the pitch to score, but when the ball went loose Jersey were quickest to react, with Fisilau and Katz linking well to release Kuki Ma'afu who surged through the midfield and dived over for Jersey's third and final try of the afternoon, that also denied the hosts a losing bonus point.
The return match is this coming Friday at St Peter, with kick off at 7.45, and with the Pool wide open with Ulster, Scottish and the Reds all sitting on 2 wins from 3, it is another 'must win' situation.
Following the final whistle, a delighted Harvey Biljon was again full of praise for his players. "The more adversity there is, the stronger the players seem to pull together."
Tickets for Friday's game are offered at discounted rates as the Reds look to bring a bit of early Christmas cheer to their supporters.
15 Peter Lydon 14 Alec Coombes 13 Robbie Fergusson 12 Patrick Kelly 11 Jason Harries 10 Harry Sheppard 9 Ed Hoadley 1 Grant Shiells 2 David Cherry 3 Ewan McQuillin 4 Rory Bartle (c) 5 Neale Patrick 6 Ally Miller 7 Danny Kenny 8 Ifereimi Boladau
16 George Turner 17 Jonny Harris 18 Dan Koroi 19 Callum Hunter Hill 20 Joe Atkinson 21 Craig Holland 22 Tom Galbraith
15 Sam Katz 14 George Watkins 13 Jack Cuthbert 12 Kuki Ma'afu 11 Kieran Hardy 10 James McKinney (replaced by Conor Dolan, 26 mins) 9 Sami Fisilau 1 Sean McCarthy 2 Joe Buckle (c) 3 Mark Tampin 4 Nick Campbell 5 Dave McKern 6 Gary Graham 7 James Doyle 8 Max Argyle
16 Jack Macfarlane 17 Jake Woolmore 18 Jake Armstrong 19 Uili Kolo'ofa'i 20 Nick Haining 21 Joel Dudley 22 Conor Dolan
Tries: Alec Coombes (24, 51 minutes)
Penalties: Peter Lydon (30 minutes)
Yellow Card: Grant Shiells
Tries: Joe Buckle (9 minutes) Gary Graham (66 minutes) Kuki Ma'afu (79 minutes)
Conversions: Sam Katz (9, 66 minutes)
Penalties: Sam Katz (55 minutes)
Yellow Card: Kuki Ma'afu
Referee: Jonny Erskine
Assistant Referees: Greg Garner & Daniel Parrott
Fourth Official: Simon Dodd
Half Time Score: London Scottish 8 - 7 Jersey Reds