Worcester Warriors 32 Jersey 2921/11/2014
A thrilling second half come back by Jersey saw them so close to sharing the spoils before a last minute penalty earned Worcester a bonus point win and left Jersey with 2 points from the encounter.
At the start of the evening few would have imagined such a result, and after a first half that saw the home side go in 17-5 ahead it looked an ominous task.
The first half started fairly evenly with neither side dominating territory. The biggest frustration was the referee's interpretation of the scrum that led to free kicks and penalties being shared with little indication as to why, and this didn't improve over the whole evening.
Worcester broke the deadlock as they kicked a penalty to the corner, cleanly won the lineout and drove over with apparent ease. The conversion was added to make it 7-0. Jersey battled gainly looking to assert pressure but when penalised at another scrum Worcester opted to kick for goal to make it 10-0. The Warriors extended their lead again with another catch and drive from a lineout and it was starting to look one way traffic.
With about 5 minutes of the half to go, Jersey suddenly took the initiative. A penalty kick to the corner and a line out followed. Worcester infringed in midfield and Jersey kicked back to the corner. Again the Reds pressed the opposition line and following another penalty, they then kicked to the opposite corner. Another catch and drive led to another penalty and it appeared that the Worcester defence would hold firm, but from the 4th line out Noone peeled off at the front and touched down in the right hand corner. Bentley couldn't add the extras and 17-5 was how it stayed.
From the restart Jersey looked hungrier, and as the weather cleared the visitors started to pass the ball around and put phases together, but it was Worcester who were again to score first through Gilbert to extend the lead to 22-5 after some powerful forward play.
That score was soon cancelled out as Noone got his second of the evening for Jersey, and Bentley converted to make it 22-12.
Jersey suddenly began to dominate proceedings as Worcester seemed to lose shape and direction, and when awarded a penalty midway in the Warriors half, Bentley slotted the conversion to reduce the arrears further to 22-15.
Again Jersey pressed and another penalty saw them kick to the corner. Worcester went down to 14 men and Jersey won the lineout cleanly and drove forward at pace, edging in field at the same time. At the second attempt to illegally collapse the maul the referee took no time to blow for a penalty try, and with a successful conversion Jersey were level at 22-22.
More drama followed at the other end very soon after the restart and, following a yellow card for Lockwood, Worcester dominated the resulting scrum forcing Jersey back, and in the process won a converted penalty try of their own and a try bonus point.
The best was yet to come for Jersey. As the game entered the final 5 minutes, Locke picked up a loose pass just inside the Worcester half and sprinted for the line, closely followed by a chasing defence. Realising the closing pack, he had sense of mind to change direction twice and then dive early to cross just to the left of the uprights. Bentley converted and it was all-square again.
As the game entered the closing minutes it looked as though Jersey were to come away with an unlikely, but deserved 3 points, but having missed one penalty attempt Lamb converted a second to steal the win for the home side in the last minute.
Report by: William Church
Worcester Warriors: Howard, Smith, Stelling, Mills, Biggs, Lamb, Mulchrone, Rapava Ruskin, Annett, Daniels, Williams (YC 62), O'Shea, Cox, Gilbert, Van Velze
Replacements: Sowrey, Bower, O'Donnell, Thomas, Bruzulier, Symons, Pennell
Jersey: Jones-Davies, Locke, Bishop, Robling,
McCrea, Bentley, Glynn, Lancuba, Harris, Selway, Campbell, Rae,
Kaho, Buckle, Noone
Replacements: Lockwood (YC 69), Garcia-Veiga, Herriott, Haining, Hodson, Dudley, Pointer
Referee: John Meredith (RFU)
Star men: Mat Gilbert (Worcester); Drew Locke (Jersey)
Half time: 17-5
Tries: Gilbert 11, 45, Rapava Ruskin 29, Penalty Try 73
Conversions: Lamb 11, 29, 73
Penalties: Lamb 21, 78
Tries: Noone 36, 48, Penalty Try 63, Locke 75
Conversions: Bentley 36, 63, 75
Penalty: Bentley 56