London Welsh 45 Jersey 713/04/2014
Jersey had a tough afternoon against a London Welsh side who seem to be hitting peak form ahead of the end-of-season play-offs.
The Oxford-based Exiles asserted themselves after a slow start which saw Jersey take a surprise lead thanks to a try by Drew Locke.
The home team, who had struck first with an Alex Davies' penalty, regained the lead thanks to a powerful try by Joe Ajuwa and another score from Tyson Keats (pictured below), and were 17-7 in front at the break.
As in a number of recent matches, the second half was 40 minutes to forget for the Islanders, with the game quickly being taken out of their reach. First hooker John Quill scored from a rolling maul, then Jersey's Mark McCrea was sin-binned for a deliberate knock-on; seconds later a quickly-tapped penalty led to Matt Corker crashing over, and before Jersey had their 15th man back on the pitch, Quill scored an identical try to his first, and the game was up at 38-7.
To their credit Jersey were able to stem the tide in the final quarter, conceding just one more score in spite of having another 10 minutes short-handed when Locke was banished. The hosts' sixth try was claimed by Toby L'Estrange who broke through and had the pace to reach the corner, converting his own try. Otherwise Jersey held firm and at least had the consolation of keeping the score below the 54-14 win achieved by the other promotion favourites, Bristol, in February at the Memorial Stadium.
Bristol and Welsh will actually meet in a Good Friday show-down at the Mem, which should determine who goes into the play-offs as table-toppers. Bristol regained their lead at the top by 7pm thanks to a 24-33 bonus-point win at Moseley in the televised game.
Of more concern to Jersey is the bottom of the table, with the lead over bottom-placed Ealing Trailfinders reduced yesterday from eight to just three points. This was thanks to a thrilling win for the West London side, who held on to defeat Nottingham 37-35.
The bottom three in the Greene King IPA Championship and their remaining games stands as follows:
- Nottingham, 29 points; Moseley (H), London Welsh (A)
- Jersey, 24 points; London Scottish (H), Bedford (A)
- Ealing, 21 points; Plymouth Albion (A), Rotherham (H)
London Welsh: Toby L'Estrange, Joe Ajuwa, Tom May, Hudson Tonga'uiha, Nick Scott, Alex Davies, Tyson Keats, Alec Hepburn, Nathan Morris, Paddy Ryan, Will Spencer, Matt Corker, Mitch Lees, John Quill, Daniel Browne. Replacements: Richard Thorpe for Lees (35mins), Nathan Trevett for Hepburn (51mins), Kevin Davis for Morris (51mins), Cai Griffiths for Ryan (51mins), James Lewis for Tonga'uiha (51mins), Ben Pienaar for Spencer (55mins), Liam O'Neill for Davies (57mins).
Jersey: Jack Burroughs, Grant Pointer, Drew Locke (YC 68), Mark McCrea (YC 45), Ed Dawson, Aaron Penberthy, Joel Dudley, Sam Lockwood, Elvis Taione, Nick Selway, Nick Campbell, David Markham, Joe Buckle, Ryan Hodson (C), Ben Maidment. Replacements: Tom Brown for Maidment (47mins), Nicky Griffiths for Dudley (55mins), David Bishop for Pointer (57mins), Sean McCarthy for Lockwood (59mins), Luke Stratford for Taione (64mins), James Voss for Markham (64mins). Replacement not used: Tom Fidler
London Welsh scorers
Tries: Quill (2), Ajuwa, Keats, Corker, L'Estrange
Cons: Davies (4), L'Estrange
Referee: Greg MacDonald
Man-of-the-match: Toby L'Estrange