Jersey Reds suffered a cruel late defeat as hosts Bedford Blues made the most of a numerical advantage to claim the winning score.
With Jersey replacement Sam Rodman having already been sin-binned as his side came under pressure, a rolling maul was brought down near the try-line, leading to a penalty try and another yellow card, this time for Graham Geldenhuys. A couple of minutes remained, but the 13-man Reds side couldn’t achieve a winning score of their own.
It was a frustrating conclusion for the visitors, who had fought back well in the second half having trailed 19-8 as the match approached the hour mark. A solo try from Brett Herron and another by Conor Joyce – his first for the Reds – from a pass by skipper Roy Godfrey, saw the Reds take the lead. But the Blues pack were in the ascendancy, maintaining a 9-17 advantage in terms of penalties conceded across the entire 80 minutes, and this helped them get across the line at the death.
In the first half it was the Blues who struck first when former Northampton and Jersey Reds’ hooker Charlie Clare crossed at the back of a rolling maul. Herron reduced the deficit with a penalty and then it appeared Godfrey had scored from close range, however the referee wasn’t in the optimum position to witness the grounding and ruled the ball had been held up.
Around five minutes before half-time, Herron set up a try for Auguy Slowik with a long flat pass that enabled the full-back to race over for his second try in as many league games.
The Reds’ lead was short-lived, as just before the break Dean Adamson was put in by his captain Lee Dickson. This put the Blues back in front and they stretched their advantage early in the second period when Clare went over again at the back of another maul.
With the visit of London Irish to Stade Santander International next weekend having been put back to November 3rd, the Reds have a break from league action before a third away game in succession in the Greene King IPA Championship, the visit to London Scottish on September 22nd. Then the first home match of the new season will see Yorkshire Carnegie visit the Island on Friday September 28th.
Rich Lane; Ryan Hutler, Jamie Elliott, Fraser Strachan, Dean Adamson; Ed Coulson, Lee Dickson (capt); Sean McCarthy (Camilo Parilli-Ocampo 67), Charlie Clare (Jacob Fields 69), Alex Penny (Ben Cooper 61), Will Carrick-Smith, Mark Flanagan (Ed Taylor 32), Oli Curry, Josh Buggea (Jarad Williams 44), Huw Worthington.
Unused replacements: James Lennon, Joe Green.
Auguy Slowik; Koch Marx, Apakuki Ma’afu, Mark Best (James Newey 50), Leeroy Van Dam; Brett Herron, Will Homer (Calum Waters 65); Roy Godfrey, Nick Selway (Charlie Maddison 58), Leeroy Atalifo (Sam Rodman 48, YC 73), Jerry Sexton, Dave McKern (Charlie Beckett 54), Janco Venter (Leeroy Atalifo 76), Conor Joyce, Max Argyle (Graham Geldenhuys 58, YC 77)
Unused replacement: Harry Morley
Tries: Clare, 14, 47, Adamson 37, Penalty Try 77
Conversions: Coulson 37, 47
Tries: Slowik 35, Herron 60, Joyce 67
Conversions: Herron 60, 68
Penalty: Herron 28
Referee: Dean Richards. Assistants: Ian Bibey, Darryl Chapman