Bristol (H) 23.3.1323/03/2013
Jersey 23 Bristol 29
March 23rd, 2013
by Tom Innes
Bristol fought back for a narrow victory against a Jersey side who were left fuming after being denied a winning score in the final move of the game.
With time up, Jersey were hammering at the visitors' line and replacement prop James Gethings forced his way over. The Irishman's team-mates were convinced the ball had been grounded, but referee Ross Campbell, after consulting his Assistant, ruled 'held up' and blew for full time, to the frustration of the majority in a season-high crowd of 3,074 at St Peter.
"I'm immensely proud of my boys and the effort they put in - I think they've been defeated because of a poor refereeing decision," said Jersey Director of Rugby Ben Harvey.
Harvey's counterpart Andy Robinson, in sole charge for the first time following the departure of Head Coach Liam Middleton, was pleased with a win that maintains his side's play-off hopes.
Jersey's Dave Markham wins lineout ball, pic by David Goodenough
"Credit to Jersey - they put us under pressure and scored a very good try just before the break, while we bombed a couple of chances that could have given us the lead," he said. "We showed great team spirit to get the win in the second half."
The first half saw fly-halves Mike Le Bourgeois and Adrian Jarvis trade penalties until Jersey seized the initiative just before half-time, with Bristol's Glen Townson in the sin-bin. Le Bourgeois started a counter-attack from inside his own half and the ball was run back at Bristol. Superb hands from backs and forwards alike eventually enabled Le Bourgeois to make a line break and feed skipper Nicky Griffiths for the try.
Bristol needed early points and achieved these through two Jarvis penalties, but Jersey pulled further clear when Guy Thompson twisted his way over from close range - a huge boost for the home side who were playing a man short after a yellow card for Fred Silcock.
Luke Eves set up Bristol's first try, going close before quick ball reached his centre partner Fautua Otto for the try. And then with 75 minutes gone, sustained pressure by Bristol ended with Jarvis jinking over, adding the conversion to complete a 24-point personal tally.
At one stage Jersey's losing bonus point looked in jeopardy as
the visitors pressed forward again, but the Islanders finished the
stronger and came agonisingly close to snatching the spoils. A
losing bonus point stretched the margin over 12th-placed Doncaster,
whose game at Bedford was postponed, to seven points, but still
leaves both sides' destiny likely to rest on their meeting at St
Peter on April 13th.
Jersey, sponsored by Locate Jersey and jersey.com: Davies, McCrea, Foster, Stelling, Dawson, Le Bourgeois, Griffiths (capt); McCarthy (Barrington 44), Felton (Taione 44), Brennan (Gethings 75), Anderson, Markham (Lang 75), Walker-Blair, Silcock, Thompson. Replacements not used: Buckle, McCormack, Sanders.
Bristol: Goodridge, Watkins (Tovey 59), Otto, Eves, Edwards, Jarvis, Grindal (Tipuna 59); Traynor, Johnston (Lawrence 59), Cortes (Douglas 46), Sambucetti (Winters 48), Townson, Grieve (capt) (Eadie 48), Pennycook, Mama. Replacement not used: Roberts.
Referee: Ross Campbell
Sponsor's Man-of-the-Match, chosen by Kleinwort Benson: Redford Pennycook (Bristol)
Tries: Griffiths 37, Thompson 59
Conversions: Le Bourgeois 37, 59
Penalties: Le Bourgeois 2, 16, 32
Tries: Otto 65, Jarvis 75
Conversions: Jarvis 65, 75
Penalties: Jarvis 9, 26, 33, 42, 50