London Scottish 18 Jersey Reds 4516/12/2017
Jersey Reds maintained a perfect record in this season's British & Irish Cup with an eventually comfortable 18-45 win over London Scottish at the Richmond Athletic Ground.
The visitors at one stage trailed 13-0 but then got a grip on the game and eventually scored six tries in a second successive big win in back-to-back wins over the Exiles.
The match took place on a cold but bright afternoon at the 'RAG'. There was doubt about whether the main pitch would be playable, with a reserve pitch available if needed, but the number one pitch was deemed fit following a pitch inspection an hour before kick-off.
Player-coach Jake Sharp gave the Exiles the lead from an early penalty, one of a number of concessions by the Reds early in the game, and soon afterwards a quickly-tapped penalty was run forward and worked to Joe-Luca Smith who scored in the corner.
The Reds had failed to exert significant pressure in the opening stages, but got their rolling maul going from a penalty kick to touch around the 20-minute mark. There were a series of phases but eventually the ball went to ground.
The visitors were on top at scrum time, but although the Exiles' pack was going backwards, they managed to get the ball out, Tom Parton raced 60 metres and gave a scoring pass to Smith for the wing's second try.
The visitors needed to score next, and achieved this with a fine move across the width of the pitch, top try-scorer Tom Pincus coming into the line and finishing. Brendan Cope, playing his 50th competitive game for the Reds, added the extras.
A kick through by the Reds was touched down by skipper Ben Mosses, but this meant a five-metre scrum for the Reds - a great opportunity, and although Kieran Hardy's close-range dart was repelled, the forwards took it on and eventually Max Argyle squeezed over. Cope's conversion meant the Reds were ahead for the first time with around four minutes left of the first half, and that's how it stayed up to 'oranges.'
The visitors began strongly following the break and after stringing together some phases, eventually Josh Hodson burst into the line and crossed by the posts, so the lead was up to eight points, and then 11 (13-24) when Cope added a penalty after the pack won a penalty at scrum time.
Behind on the scoreboard and suffering at the set-piece, the Exiles were forced to chase the game, and when the ball went loose in attack it was seized by Cope who raced downfield and, although tackled, was able to force his way over for the bonus point try, which he converted.
Replacement Nick Selway wasted little time in getting onto the scoreboard after coming on after 58 minutes. The hooker and his forward colleague drove forward powerfully and eventually crossed.
Full-back Tom Parton grabbed a third try for the Exiles from a kick ahead which he chased well to touch down, but the visitors had the final word with Jason Worrall crossing. Cope's conversion made it seven from seven from the kicking tee and soon afterwards the final whistle blew.
Head Coach Harvey Biljon paid tribute to his players after the match.
"We had a good win last weekend and had challenged ourselves to back it up, and we did that impressively," he said. "We lost a player [Mark Best] in the warm-up, and then had more disruption among our backs during the game, so to stay focused and stick to task was really impressive.
"Our discipline in the first 20 minutes wasn't good enough but then we managed to get some good field position and take the point-scoring opportunities we created.
"We have had four good wins in this competition, but it will count for nothing unless we can keep up the momentum in January and hopefully the knock-out stages."
After the back-to-back 'Cup 'series' against the Exiles, the Reds will stage their final home fixture of 2017 at Stade Santander International on Friday December 22nd, with Hartpury the visitors and Christmas jumpers, mulled wine, roast turkey and all the trimmings on the menu.
JERSEY REDS: Worrall; Pincus, Ma'afu (Dudley 43), Abrahams, Hodson; Cope, Hardy (Duchesne 64); Godfrey (capt) (Woolmore 53), Macfarlane (Selway 58), Atalifo (Armstrong 44), Sexton, Voss (Mckern 62), Upfield, Nagle-Taylor (Joyce 64), Argyle.
LONDON SCOTTISH: Parton; Smith, Neal, Mosses (capt), Holland; Sharp, Walker A; Onyeama Christie, George, Cringle, Tyas, Uanivi, Baillie, Walker C, Eliet.
Replacements: Austin, Appiah, McQuillin, Milne, Atkinson, Barton, Coombes
REFEREE: Fergus Kirby. Assistants: Rob Warburton, Ian Bibey
Half Time: 13-14
Tries: Smith 9, 26, Parton 67
Penalty: Sharp 6
Tries: Pincus 30, Argyle 36, Hodson 42, Cope 55, Selway 61, Worrall 75
Conversions: Cope 30, 36, 42, 55, 61, 75
Penalty: Cope 47