Jersey Reds 47 Coventry 506/08/2016
Sunshine and seven tries for the home side ensured Jersey Reds' supporters went home happy after their side's first hit-out of pre-season.
The Reds included 12 new signings in their 24-man squad, while Coventry's starting XV included just one player - winger Rob Knox - who was with the club last season.
The opening try of the season arrived within three minutes when winger George Watkins took an interception as the visitors tried to run out of defence and strolled over. The Reds increased their lead thanks to a jinking run from Brendan Cope for the second try and after a turnover Nick Haining crossed. A rolling maul saw hooker Nick Selway claim the fourth try just before the break, and on the resumption some slick footballing skills from Haining saw the flanker race 45 metres to score after a turnover near halfway.
Coventry had defended gamely and the visiting pack held their own at scrum time. The visitors best spell came midway through the second half when they earned several penalties and fashioned a well-worked try finished with Rob Knox's offload to James Stokes.
After a yellow card for Coventry scrum-half Rhodri Adamson for illegally seeking to prevent quick ball from a ruck, the Reds had the last word with replacements James Doyle and George Eastwell crossing in the closing minutes, the last try following a silky offload from replacement fly-half Sam Katz, who also added two conversions to add to four earlier successes from the tee by Brendan Cope.
"It was absolutely the test that we needed against a very good side," said Jersey Head Coach Harvey Biljon. "There were a few errors but I was pleased with our game overall."
Biljon said he hoped that there hadn't been too many injury concerns, although Nick Haining needed ice on an ankle injury. Hooker Joe Buckle was withdrawn before the start having sustained a dead leg in training, which meant Nick Selway started in the number two shirt, with Jack Macfarlane one of six players making their debut from the bench, plus another new signing, lock James Voss, returning to the Jersey side after two year away from the Island.
Coventry Director of Rugby Rowland Winter said: "We knew Jersey would ask questions of every facets of our game - we stood up well in some areas and there's also plenty to work on over the next four weeks."
The match was the first in a trio of pre-season games with Coventry, Ampthill (August 13th) and Aviva Premiership side Worcester Warriors (August 20th) visiting St Peter. The Greene King IPA Championship season starts on the first weekend of September, when the Reds travel to London to take on Richmond; the first home league game of the season, when Bedford Blues will be the visitors, takes place on Saturday September 10th.
Tickets for the pre-season matches, as well as membership and season ticket packages for supporters for the 2016/17 season, plus a full list of confirmed fixtures to date, and profiles of the 1st XV squad, are available via the links below.
JERSEY: Adair (Cuthbert 59); Watkins, King (Eastwell 53), Robling, Lane; Cope (Katz 59), Hardy (Dudley 53); Woolmore (McCarthy 64), Selway (Macfarlane 64), Tampin (Armstrong 64), McKern (Voss 53), Phillips (c), Haining (Doyle 48), Freeman, Argyle.
COVENTRY: Pritchard (Rundle 48); Stokes, Hircock, Wheatcroft (c), Knox; Fenner (Maisey 52), Adamson (YC 74) (Grasso 27-72); Stankovic (Brown 38), Tolmie (Price 38), Litchfield (Boulton 38), Conquest, Snyman (Jubb 52), Grace, Harry (Dyer 27), Bone. Replacement (unused): Burke
REFEREE: Michael Hudson (RFU). Assistants: Darryl Chapman, Rob Warburton
Half Time: 26-0
Tries: Watkins 3, Cope 21, Haining 32, 42, Selway 39, Doyle 77, Eastwell 79
Conversions: Cope 3, 21, 32, 42, Katz 77, 80
Try: Stokes 48