Rotherham 20 Jersey 2008/02/2015
Jersey left Clifton Lane with two hard-earned points after a
20-20 draw against Rotherham.
The match was a ding-dong encounter with the lead changing hands several times, but the Islanders had the satisfaction of their best result in three visits to Rotherham, and maintained their status in eighth place in the Greene King IPA Championship.
Aaron Penberthy gave the visitors an early lead when Titans infringed at the opening scrum, but the Titans scored the first try from a rolling maul finished by flanker Max Argyle with 11 minutes played.
The remainder of the half featured a yellow card for each side - Jersey's Dave Markham and Curtis Wilson of Rotherham - but no further points, with a combination of good defence and errors in execution from both sides. Jersey were probably the happier team at half-time after surviving a late burst of pressure.
Wilson was still off at the start of the second period, Jersey began on the front foot and only an illegal tackle from James McKinney prevented a try in the corner. The fly-half saw yellow for the offence, taking his team down to 13 men, and Jersey were awarded a penalty try to regain the lead (7-10).
Although Jordan Davies, stepping up to kicking duties in McKinney's absence, drew Rotherham level with a penalty, some sustained Jersey pressure eventually saw Mark McCrea cross for a try between the posts, a similar effort to his winning score against Nottingham at St Peter the previous weekend.
Powerful forward drives led to 10 points for Rotherham around the hour mark - Davies chipped over a drop goal and then a maul was taken down, earning Jersey's Martin Garcia-Veiga a yellow card and a penalty try for the Titans.
Another scrum penalty allowed Penberthy to level the scores with just over 10 minutes left. Both sides had chances to win the match in the closing stages, the closest being when Rotherham worked a promising drop goal opportunity for McKinney, only for Jonny Bentley to charge the ball down.
Harvey Biljon said: "A draw is a pretty good result for us away from home - this is still a tough place to come and play and it was an intense contest. The first half was frustrating and I think it was important that we were only four points down at the break.
"We had made some unforced errors in the first half which made life difficult, but we weathered the storm up to the break and were then able to discuss what we would do to correct them.
"We knew there was a man advantage to come at the start of the second half [after Curtis Wilson earned the first of two yellow cards for the home side] and really focused on getting points then, which we did. After that, my feelings are mixed - we did have opportunities to get the win, but so did Rotherham, and in that sense I can't be too disappointed."
Tries: Argyle 11, Penalty try 67
Cons: McKinney 11, 67
Pen: Davies 48
Drop: Davies 57
Tries: Penalty try 43, McCrea 52
Cons: Penberthy 43, 52
Pens: Penberthy 2, 69
Titans: 15 Sean Scanlon, 14 Michael Keating, 13 Jordan Davies (Hayes 54), 12 Mark Cooke, 11 Curtis Wilson (YC 38), 10 James McKinney (YC 43), 9 Dan White, 1 Robin Hislop (Williams 52), 2 Tom Cruse, 3 Lewis Thiede (Tampin 52), 4 Barney Maddison, 5 Tom Holmes (Capt.) (Ryan 49), 6 Max Argyle, 7 Alex Rieder, 8 Ben Morris.
Replacements: 16 Jack Preece, 17 Toby Williams, 18 Mark Tampin, 19 Willie Ryan, 20 Lloyd Hayes, 21 Tom Barrett, 22 Jamie Broadley.
Jersey: 15 Aaron Penberthy, 14 Mark Foster (Bishop 65), 13 Drew Locke, 12 Lewis Robling, 11 Mark McCrea, 10 Jonny Bentley, 9 Samisoni Fisilau (Glynn 57), 1 Sam Lockwood (Lancuba 75), 2 Joe Buckle (Garcia-Veiga 49), 3 Harry Williams, 4 Nick Campbell, 5 Dave Markham (YC 29) (Graham 54) (Selway 66-70), 6 Alex Rae (Capt.), 7 Ryan Hodson, 8 Michael Noone (Kaho 49).
Replacements: 16 Ignacio Lancuba, 17 Martin Garcia-Veiga (YC 66), 18 Nick Selway, 19 Gary Graham, 20 Paula Kaho, 21 Ryan Glynn, 22 David Bishop.
Referee: Matt O'Grady