Jersey 19 Plymouth Albion 008/11/2014
A gritty display in wet and muddy conditions eventually delivered a hard-fought Jersey win and the club's highest-ever league placing of fifth.
The Islanders entered the last 10 minutes clinging to a six-point lead, but a strong finish brought an eventually comfortable win. Albion have now lost 16 consecutive competitive matches and are rooted to the bottom of the Greene King IPA Championship table.
Jonny Bentley had three penalty chances in the first half,
landing two of them to build his side's modest lead. There were few
try-scoring chances in the first period, and one lengthy injury
break for treatment to Albion's dual-registered wing Jack Arnott,
although the dual-registered wing was set to be discharged from
hospital to join his team-mates on their evening flight home.
Albion Player-Coach James Shanahan withdrew from the fray at half-time, with Lawrence Rayner coming on in his place. Jersey had try-scoring chances but Drew Locke knocked on after chasing his own kick through, and Mark McCrea couldn't take a pass from Joel Dudley after a quick lineout.
Rayner missed a relatively straightforward chance to halve the deficit on the hour, but otherwise the home team were were territorially dominant and eventually turned pressure into points with a powerful driving maul finished by vice-captain Ryan Hodson (pictured below). Jersey's replacement fly-half Aaron Penberthy added the conversion and two late penalties to complete the scoring.
Jersey's win was built on a committed display and outstanding set-piece, including a lineout that worked like clockwork in contrast with Albion who made a series of errors.
"We knew we'd be up against an emotionally-charged side, and we coped really well," said Jersey Head Coach Harvey Biljon. "The most impressive thing for me was our game management which is an area where we are maturing game-by-game, and we backed that up with a very low error count in difficult conditions.
"I was pleased that for the second game running we got the first score of the second half, even if it did take us a while to get points on the board."
Biljon admitted that he'd had a tough choice to make at fly-half, adding: "I thought there was a good balance with Jonny Bentley managing the game well and then Aaron Penberthy helping us to get in the right areas to score points in the closing stages."
And there was praise for scrum-half Joel Dudley who played the entire 80 minutes.
"Joel was selected on the back of a great performance two weeks
ago and he's backed that up today with a great display," Biljon
Report by Tom Innes
Picture by Sue Trower - more of Sue's pictures are available now on our Facebook page or shortly on the 'Galleries' section of this site
Jersey: Pointer, Foster, Locke, Robling, McCrea, Bentley (Penberthy 65), Dudley; Lockwood (Lancuba 78), Garcia-Veiga (Harris 77), Herriott (Brennan 75), Campbell, Markham, Rae (capt), Hodson, Haining. Replacements (not used): Noone, Glynn, Burroughs
Plymouth Albion: Koteczky, Arnott (Warner 34), Woods, Howley-Berridge, Homan, Shanahan (Rayner 40), Cushion (Setter 71); Fidler (Chapman 71), Cowan-Dickie (Matavesi 68), Tiedemann (Heard 71), Oakley, Jubb, Langley, Simmonds, Bone (Grace 68).
Referee: Andrew Jackson (RFU)
Man-of-the-match (chosen by match sponsor Apex Trust Company: Ryan Hodson (Jersey)
Tries: Hodson 70
Conversion: Penberthy 70
Penalties: Bentley 24, 36, Penberthy 72, 79