Jersey 22 Rotherham Titans 3525/01/2014
Jersey 22 Rotherham Titans 35
Greene King IPA Championship
by Tom Innes
/*See Sue Trower's fabulous pictures on our 'galleries'
Titans swept back to the top of the Championship table with a dominant performance.
The ninth successive victory for Lee Blackett's men left Rotherham's Head Coach a happy man.
"That has to be one of our best performances of the season," he said. "To come here and get the win showed a great attitude, and to get a bonus point as well was fantastic.
"We got maximum points at Bedford last week, but we were disappointed with our performance - today was much better and it shows who these guys are easy for me to coach."
Jersey made the early running but fly-half Niall O'Connor could only convert one of his three penalty attempts, and after a yellow card for his team-mate Mark Foster, Titans seized control through tries by Alfie To'oala and Ben Sowrey. The number 8 finished off a catch-and-drive move, while the hooker charged through three tackles to the line.
The Islanders lost Fred Silcock with a knee injury, Joe Buckle (pictured in 'leaping salmon' mode below) joining the fray after 22 minutes.
Home supporters were cheered by a thumping Jack Burroughs tackle in front of the clubhouse, and Tom Brown's try enabled Jersey to close the gap to 10-12; but crucially the visitors managed a further score in added time when the ball was spun wide to Jamie Broadley.
The Islanders needed the first score of the second half but instead it was Titans' full-back Sean Scanlon who crossed after slick hands involving Dallan Murphy and Jack Roberts.
The despatching of Roth skipper Barney Maddison to the sin-bin was followed by Jersey's second try, another driving maul affair finished by Brown, but yet again Jersey hope was snuffed out almost immediately. Replacement Ali Birch charged through the home defence to score, and a brace of penalties by Juan Pablo Socino helped his side pull clear.
Jersey at least had the consolation of a strong finish, forcing the visitors onto the back foot, resulting in another yellow card, this time for Jack Preece, and a try for Jack Burroughs. Home fans were hoping for a bonus point try in the final play, but it was not to be and their side finished well-beaten.
Head Coach Harvey Biljon, taking charge of his first Jersey match, said his squad were very disappointed.
"We weren't outmuscled by Rotherham and there was no lack of desire, but there were some key errors that the players will need to learn from," he said. "Our supporters were great today but we couldn't deliver for them - we will have a major focus on improving our standard of play over the next few weeks."
Biljon and his squad have another tough test, away to Bristol on Sunday 2nd February, before returning to action at St Peter against Nottingham on Saturday 8th February.
Jersey: Burroughs, Pointer, Locke, Bishop
(McCrea 62), Foster, O'Connor (Dudley 77), Williams (Griffiths 63);
McCarthy, Taione (Felton 77), Young (Selway 71), Markham (Campbell
48), Rae (capt), Makaafi, Silcock (Buckle 22), Brown.
Rotherham Titans: Scanlon, Broadley (Hayes 68), Roberts, Socino, Keating, Murphy, White (Mulchrone 52); Hislop (Williams 61), Sowrey (Cruse 52), Quigley (Tampin 46), Maddison (capt), Sanderson (Thomas 48), Rieder, Preece, To'oala (Birch 52).
Referee: John Meredith (RFU)
Star Man: Dallan Murphy (Rotherham)
Tries: Brown 35, 54, Burroughs 82
Conversions: O'Connor 35, 54
Penalties: O'Connor 9
Tries: To'oala 14, Sowrey 29, Broadley 40, Scanlon 48, Birch 60
Conversions: Socino 29, 60
Penalties: Socino 63, 79