Ayr RFC 14 Jersey RFC 13
British & Irish Cup, Pool 6
by William Church
Jersey finished their Pool 6 B&I cup campaign in
3rd place following a narrow bonus point defeat by
Scottish Champions, Ayr RFC.
Played on a wet and slippery pitch, the game started evenly,
before Ayr were reduced to 14 men. Jersey sniffed their opportunity
and having been awarded a penalty in the middle of the pitch on the
Ayr 10m line, opted to kick for the corner. From the resulting line
out, the visitors took the ball cleanly and drove over the Ayr
line, but it was adjudged to be held up. There then resulted
in a scrum and 4 or 5 resets before a Penalty Try was finally
awarded as the Ayr scrum-half dived in to the back of the scrum to
kill the ball. Pointer converted to make it 0-7, and Ayr were
reduced to 13 players.
As was the case in Jersey, Ayr never stopped trying to play the
ball despite being numerically disadvantaged, and they weathered
the next 10 mins or so until back to full strength. Ayr then took
the play to Jersey and got just rewards on the break of half time
with a converted try of their own.
Following the break Ayr again looked to attack, and were keen to
try and pass the ball around in spite of the worsening conditions,
but it was Jersey who were to take the lead again, and then extend
it to 7-13 with two Pointer penalties.
Play switched from one side to the other without either side
really gaining the upper hand, and then came the telling moment.
Ayr were awarded a penalty on the Jersey 10m line and instead of
taking the points on offer, opted to kick for a lineout in the
corner. Following successive line-outs, a couple of penalties and
scrums which the Jersey pack staunchly defended, Ayr eventually
moved the ball wide and through the hands to full-back Anderson who
went over for the vital score to the right of the posts. Russell
converted to make it 14-13, and that was how it stayed.
Pirates topped Pool 6 with 5 wins from 6 (25 points) and secure
a home draw for the quarter-final. Ulster Ravens finished 2nd (13
points), then Jersey RFC (12 points) and Ayr RFC (10 points).
The quarter final draw takes place on Monday 27th January.
Pirates, Leinster ‘A’, Bristol and Leeds will have home ties as the
four qualifiers with the best records. The away teams, in no
particular order, will be Rotherham, Plymouth, Munster ‘A’ and
Pontypridd. The quarter-finals will be played on the first weekend
Jersey: Copsey, Pointer, Locke (Foster),
McCrea, Dawson, Dudley, Griffiths, McCarthy (Taione), Felton,
Selway (Brennan), Anderson, Campbell (Markham), Voss, Buckle, Brown
Replacements not used: Michel, Williams
Ayr: Anderson, McCluskey, Bennett, Kelbrick,
Fergusson, Russell, Jericevich (McConnell), Reid (Scott), Malcolm
(Rae), Hunter (Cox), Templeton, Sutherland, Fisken, Brown,
Replacements not used: Dunlop, Redmayne, Gossman
Referee: James McPhail
Half time: 7-7
Penalties: Pointer x 2
Tries: McCallum, Anderson
Conversions: Russell x 2
YC: Sutherland, Jericevich