Plymouth Albion (H) 03.11.12


Jersey 16 Plymouth Albion 14
RFU Championship
by Tom Innes

Jersey clawed their way back into a tense arm-wrestle of a match to register a second successive Championship win and move off the bottom of the league table.

Mike Le Bourgeois slotted his third penalty of the afternoon with five minutes to play, delighting the majority in a 1,900 crowd.

"I've got a huge amount of respect for my boys and the hard work they have put in," said Jersey Director of Rugby Ben Harvey. "That work is starting to bring results.

"I was especially pleased with our display in the scrum - we are as good as anyone in that department, and that comes from the 'hard yards' put in by the team in training."

The Islanders took an early lead when Albion lost possession inside Jersey's 22. James Copsey picked up the loose ball and sped 75 metres to score.

After Jack Arnott was denied by a superb Glenn Bryce tackle and Jersey were warned for taking down a driving maul, Albion took the lead through two Paul Roberts' penalties - after an early mis-hit - and a catch-and-drive try finished off by No 8 Aaron Carpenter.

The penalty count against Jersey was mounting but the home side managed to regain sufficient territory to allow Le Bourgeois to slot a penalty, awarded for offside shortly before half-time.

The sides turned round 10-11 with Jersey finishing slightly the stronger. 

Roberts stretched his side's lead with a penalty early in the second period. Jersey upped the pressure but a combination of determined defence and crucial errors kept the scoreboard unmoved until finally Le Bourgeois was given a straightforward chance with a quarter of an hour to go after Albion prevented a try-scoring opportunity close to their goal-line.

Eventually Le Bourgeois was presented with the opportunity to win the game after a thunderous run by Jersey replacement Dave Markham into Plymouth's 22 ended with an equally physical tackle, but also an intervention from the touch judge ruling that Albion were offside. And the Jersey fly-half made no mistake.

Roberts had a long-range drop goal attempt as the clock ticked into the penultimate minute, but the ball was charged down and Jersey held on.

Plymouth Director of Rugby Nat Saumi said: "Our game management wasn't good enough. It was a close game in difficult conditions, and ultimately the breakaway try and the missed penalty in the first 10 minutes were the difference today."

JERSEY (sponsored by and Locate Jersey): Bryce (Davies 48), Copsey, Sanders, Maggs, Dawson, Le Bourgeois, O'Brien (Griffiths 53); McCarthy (Barrington 62), Boden (Felton 77), Gethings, Anderson (Markham 62), Hannay (capt), Rodgers, Lang, Thompson. Replacements not used: Brennan, Voss.

PLYMOUTH ALBION: Slade, Warner, Bailey, Armitage, Arnott, Roberts, Rowley; Cowan-Dickie L (Andrew 72), Vickers (Cowan-Dickie T, 74), Fairbrother (Morton 62), Beukeboom (Nasiga 62), Stephen (capt), Hocking, Sprangle, Carpenter. Replacements not used: Cushion, Fisilau, Tovey.

Referee: Ian Tempest

Attendance: 1,894
Sponsor's man-of-the-match: Nathan Hannay (Jersey)
Half-time: 10-11

Try: Copsey 3
Conversion: Le Bourgeois 3
Penalties: Le Bourgeois 36, 66, 75

Plymouth Albion
Try: Carpenter 19
Penalties: Roberts 15, 29, 48

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