Cornish Pirates 16 Jersey 1027/12/2015
Jersey's Christmas 'derby' fixture against the Pirates saw the Islanders fall just short of victory after a titanic battle.
A half-time deficit of 13 points in the hosts' favour was cut by Jersey's only try - and a conversion - early in the second half but this turned out to be the final score of the match, and the visitors had to be content with a losing bonus point.
Gary Graham and Danny Herriott attack at the Mennaye, pictured by Brian Tempest
The Mennaye Field surface was muddy after recent heavy rain, and the home side made the perfect start, regaining possession soon after the kick-off and launching a maul that was finished by skipper Aaron Carpenter and converted by Laurence May.
May added six more points from two penalty kicks to make it 13-0 in as many minutes. Jersey were also awarded a number of penalties: attempts to kick to the corner for attacking lineouts came to nothing, but after 19 minutes former Pirate Aaron Penberthy slotted a kick at goal.
Both sides could have added to their points tally in the latter stages of the first half, but the only further points before the break were courtesy of another May penalty.
Needing an early score after turning round and having the conditions in their favour, the Islanders achieved just what the doctor ordered when Uili Kolo'ofa'i finished off a rolling maul within three minutes of the restart.
Jersey might have gained the lead after 48 minutes when an try-scoring opportunity foundered as a potential scoring pass to wing Tom Howe was knocked down by Pirates' Matt Evans. The Canadian international was sin-binned for a deliberate knock-on, but calls from the visitors for a penalty try went unheeded.
The absence of Evans didn't lead to any further scores, and just after the hour May missed a shot at goal. Jersey were applying themselves with passion and commitment, and worked a number of good field positions through the boot of Penberthy, but in the end there was nothing to show for their endeavours.
The defeat saw Jersey stay in sixth place in the Greene King IPA Championship table, and looking to start 2016 on a winning note when high-flying Doncaster come to the Island on Saturday January 2nd. The Knights are second in the table behind leaders Bristol and are undefeated in their last 10 games in all competitions. Kick-off for the game at St Peter is at 2.30pm.
Cornish Pirates: T May; Arnott, Hendrickson, James (Bodilly 70), Evans (YC 58); L May, Townsend (Day 16); Walker (Jamieson 65), Channon (Elloway 65), Paver (Gendall 52), Garratt (Parker 52), Beukeboom, Carpenter (capt), Atkinson (Lee 70), McGlone.
Tries: Carpenter 1
Conversion: L May 1
Penalties: L May 8, 12, 26
Jersey: Penberthy; Howe, Evans (McCrea 65), Robling, Adair; Cope, Fisilau (Moates 73); Lockwood (Lancuba 46), Garcia-Veiga (Selway 49), Herriott (Tomaszczyk 58), Phillips, Rowlands, Rae (capt), Graham (Freeman 58), Kolo'ofa'i (Spinks 73)
Tries: Kolo'ofa'i 43
Conversion: Penberthy 43
Penalty: Penberthy 19
Referee: Andrew Small (RFU)