Jersey 17 Nottingham 1308/02/2014
Jersey 17 Nottingham
Greene King IPA Championship
by Tom Innes
Jersey chose the right moment to take the lead for the first time in a gripping encounter, seizing the win with the final move of the match. Catch an audio link to the final moments HERE.
Island-born full-back Jack Burroughs was the man who crossed in the corner for the crucial try, breaking Nottingham hearts but sending the home crowd into raptures.
It was a first league win in three attempts for new Head Coach Harvey Biljon.
"It was quite emotional and I said to the boys that it was a good thing I was bald," he said. "We showed a lot of character - a real warrior performance.
"The team showed everything we have been asking - the forwards fronted up and the backs showed real purpose when asked, as the last try proved.
"I was asked over the radio what I wanted to do if we got a late penalty and I said 'this is where we win' - the players really made it count. This should give us real confidence and we need to make sure we continue and play like that regularly."
Jersey started badly, losing two lineouts and then failing to find touch with an attacking penalty, and it got worse when Nottingham's rolling maul got into top gear and rumbled over from 10 metres out, skipper Brent Wilson emerging with the ball.
The home side then got into their stride and began to show some attacking intent with some powerful runs from the forwards. But the Green and White defensive wall was solid and Jersey were unable to penetrate. Niall O'Connor was given three penalty chances at goal but could only convert one of them, leaving his side trailing at half-time.
The Islanders were playing into a strong wind in the second half, while Nottingham's Matt Jarvis was trying to judge his place-kicking with the conditions; the fly-half had three early attempts in the second period but could only convert one of them.
Both sides changed their scrum halves at an early juncture, Nottingham bringing on Sean Romans at half-time, and Nicky Griffiths entering the fray six minutes into the second half. Both replacements made an impact, but the impetus provided by Griffiths was a key factor, and Dave Markham and Sam Lockwood also played strongly during the final half-hour.
Determined not to kick away possession, Jersey's upped the tempo with their driving play and surged forward to enable Griffiths to cross and level the score, only for the visitors to hit back with a Jarvis penalty.
As time ticked down, Jersey had a series of scrums and Nottingham prop Harry Williams was yellow-carded for persistent infringement. A penalty try looked likely, but instead Jersey attacked and Burroughs went over.
Nottingham Head Coach Martin Haag said: "We should have been
further ahead - I thought the boys played exceptionally well in the
first half and we expected to increase our score. For 99 per cent
of the game we were good, but we gave Jersey two or three scores
and fair play to them - they took full advantage, although I was
disappointed with the yellow card."
Jersey: Burroughs, Pointer, Locke, McCrea, Foster, O'Connor (Bishop 59), Williams (Griffiths 46); McCarthy (Lockwood 52), Taione, Young, Campbell, Voss (Markham 52), Rae (capt), Makaafi, Buckle. Replacements (not used): Felton, Selway, Dudley.
Nottingham: Lynn (Holford 76), Hough, Molloy, Munro, Humphreys, Jarvis, Barnham (Romans 41); Maafu (Bower 72), Walker (Vickers 42), Williams, Freeman, Montagu, Calladine (Price 59), Wilson (capt) (Skuse 59), Shaw. Replacements (not used): Styles.
Referee: Craig Maxwell-Keys (RFU)
Man-of-the-match chosen by match-day sponsor Randalls: Alex Rae (Jersey)
Tries: Griffiths 59, Burroughs 79
Conversions: O'Connor 59, Pointer 80
Penalties: O'Connor 11
Tries: Wilson 6
Conversions: Jarvis 6
Penalties: Jarvis 45, 66