Jersey 17 London Scottish 25


Jersey 17 London Scottish 25
Greene King IPA Championship
by Tom Innes. Pictures by William Church

London Scottish withstood a late comeback from Jersey to claim victory at St Peter. The result was a hammer-blow to the Islanders' hopes of Championship survival, and was compounded an hour later with news of Ealing's win at Plymouth.

Exiles' Head Coach James Buckland praised his players for delivering on their plans to achieve a win and not get caught up in Jersey's problems.

"We already knew our finishing position, and it would have been easy to come over here for a long weekend and lose our focus," he said. "I wanted the boys to play with personal pride - it wasn't pretty and we had to scrap our way through against a spirited side."

Will Scots 2

After a first-minute Aaron Penberthy penalty, the first half settled into a pattern of attrition, but the visitors gradually gained a platform and showed they had the ability to disrupt Jersey's scrummage. Having gained the put-in close to the try-line, the Exiles cranked up the pressure and eventually won a penalty try.

Jersey responded with a try under the posts by Nicky Griffiths after Mark McCrea broke through, but Lee Millar's penalty levelled matters before half-time.

Scottish tight-head Tomas Francis was helped off for a concussion check late in the first half. The prop returned to the fray eight minutes later, but after Jersey pointed out that there was no concussion protocol in the Championship, Francis was removed again at half-time.

With the penalty count mounting against Jersey in the second half, the Scots seized control of the game through tries by Ted Stagg and Miles Mantella, the former from a rumbling maul and the latter coming from a loose clearance that was run back with interest by Jim Thompson. Both sides were reduced to 14 men around the hour mark, with yellow cards for Jersey skipper Alex Rae, for preventing quick ball, and Andy Reay of Exiles for a high tackle.

Roared on by a 2,300 crowd, the Islanders battled back, some sustained pressure resulting in a Drew Locke try from Penberthy's grubber. Five points adrift with six minutes left, Jersey had a bonus point and sensed more, but the Exiles took their lead back to eight with Millar's penalty from within his own half, and Penberthy failed in his quest to snatch back the bonus point with the last kick of the game.

Will Scots 1 Sml

"We showed great character to come back, it was just a matter of two or three key errors that cost us in a very tight game," said Jersey's Head Coach Harvey Biljon, whose team will need a result at Bedford next weekend to give themselves a chance of escaping the relegation trapdoor.

"I saw enough today to give us real hope," he added. "If the levels of desire and commitment from today can be replicated next week, and the few key moments where mistakes were made are addressed, then I think we have every opportunity to win at Bedford."

Ealing came from behind to clinch a dramatic 21-26 win at Plymouth with a late try also securing a bonus point. This leaves the Londoners two points ahead of Jersey prior to the final round of matches, in which Ealing host Rotherham and Jersey travel to Bedford. Should the two sides finish level on points and games won, Jersey would survive thanks to a better points difference.

Jersey: Burroughs 6, McCrea 7, Pointer 7 (Williams 65), Bishop (Locke 46), Dawson, Penberthy, Griffiths; Lockwood (McCarthy 55), Taione, Selway (Brennan 74), Campbell, Voss (Markham 60-65), Rae (capt), Hodson (Buckle 55), Maidment. Replacements (not used): Stratford.

London Scottish: Thompson, Doneghan (Mama 33-40), Millar, Reay, Mantella, Newton, Stuart; Fry, Kwasnicki (Stagg 43), Francis (Thiede 31-39 & 41, Kilbane 60), Hotson, Lyons, Best, Everard, Bright (capt). Replacements (not used):  Spinks, Pasqualin, Homan.

Referee: Darren Gamage (RFU)
Attendance: 2,345
Man-of-the-Match, as chosen by match sponsor Apex Trust: Nicky Griffiths, Jersey
Half-time: 10-10

Tries: Griffiths 35, Locke 65
Conversions: Penberthy 35, 65
Penalty: Penberthy 1

London Scottish
Tries: Penalty 24, Stagg 45, Mantella 51
Conversions: Millar 24, 45
Penalties: Millar 37, 78

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