Cambridge (13) 13 Jersey (21) 54
A stunning second-half display by Jersey brought the Islanders
33 unanswered points and sealed an emphatic victory over the team
who lay third in the National One table before kick-off.
The second-half display was all the more remarkable in that
Jersey played with 14 men after the dismissal late in the first
period for Nathan Hannay for an alleged head-butt in an incident
that also saw Cambridge No 8 Darren Fox given a yellow-card for
Guy Thompson gave the visitors an early lead, supplemented by a
Mike Le Bourgeois penalty, but Anders Mogensen's try, converted by
Tom Wheatcroft, made it 7-8. The kickers swapped penalties and in
the 23rd minute Dave McCormack shrugged off three tackles to score.
A drop-goal by Le Bourgeois and another Wheatcroft penalty
completed the scoring to make it 21-13 to Jersey at the break.
For the second week running Guy Thompson scored two tries within
the first 10 minutes of the restart, completing a stunning
hat-trick and pushing Jersey out of sight. After a lull there was a
further burst of three tries in the last 16 minutes. Ed Dawson was
first over, then Myles Landick celebrated his second try for Jersey
- the first in the Championship semi-final against Taunton 18
months ago - and finally Le Bourgeois crossed to complete a
personal haul of 24 points.
After the game Landick praised the outstanding defensive effort
which had underpinned the victory, while Head Coach Ben Harvey
described it as the best performance by Jersey away from home in
the three years he had been involved.
Jersey move above Cambridge and take fifth spot in the table,
with 38 points, as a result of the win. Ealing still lead on 53
points, followed by Fylde (42), Rosslyn Park and Coventry (both
39). Beneath Jersey, Cambridge are sixth (36 points) followed by
Blackheath and Macclesfield (35 each), Sedgley Park (33) and this
weekend's opponents Tynedale (10th position, 32 points, after
losing out narrowly at home to Ealing by 29-24.
STOP PRESS: Jersey supporter Graham Holland
was at the game, and wrote this eye-witness account. It's a fans'
eye-view, so we've left in the nicknames, and apologies to anyone
who can't discern who's who...
Here's my report - I hope I can do more justice to an
amazing second half display from Jersey than The Rugby Paper, who
summed up the whole half in 27 words. Less than a word per
Jersey had a perfect start when a punt up field from Macca
bounced kindly into the hands of Guy Thompson who showed everyone a
clean pair of heels to power over, 30 seconds gone and 5 nil
Jersey continued to push forward with most of the game
being played in the Cambridge half and were fortunate when
Cambridge wasted offside advantage as two players crossed as they
broke out near the half way line. Penalty to Jersey: Mikey made it
look easy from distance, and it was 0 - 8.
Cambridge's best two players, 11 & 13, combined with a
speedy break and the winger went under the posts for a converted
try. 7 - 8.
More Jersey forward pressure forced a straightforward
penalty for Mikey, 7-11, but similar pressure in our half saw a
Cambridge penalty go over. 10 - 11.
Back came Jersey - big scrum on the Cambridge 22 - Macca
lined up everyone to his right and then picked up and ran left on
the blindside, broke through three tackles and scored a cracker.
Mikey made a difficult kick look easy: 10 - 18.
Cambridge then stepped up a gear and attacked for the next
10 minutes, forcing some solid Jersey defence.
The Cambridge right winger was chasing his own kick into
the corner when he was blocked off by the Jersey full back. The
home crowd were baying for blood. Red card? Penalty try? were the
popular cries. Fortunately the ref viewed the incident the same way
as I did: Copsey's momentum had carried him into the winger, it
stopped a certain try but was not intentional.
Cambridge kept the pressure on in the corner and the ref
had to give them something so G Bell took a yellow for the team and
Cambridge took the three points from the penalty. 13 - 18.
Jersey came straight back and the forwards showed
tremendous power on the Cambridge 22, allowing Macca to set up
Mikey for a rare drop goal. Pure class: 13 - 21.
As the first half came to a close Big Nathan got involved
with the Cambridge kingpin Darren Fox. This wasn't handbags. Yellow
for Fox, Red for Hannay.
The second half started with G Bell sneaking back on, but
the ref spotted him and made him wait another two minutes. Back at
14 men aside, Jersey were dominant and twice within five minutes
Guy Thommo burst through the home defence to give Mikey two
conversions in front of the posts. Guy was on fire, too hot for
Cambridge to handle, and it was 13 - 35.
Fox came back on to make it 15 v 14 and the locals seemed
to cheer up, but Jersey's defence remained solid. The forwards
repelled most of the Cambridge attacks before the hosts could get
out of their own half, and when they did break out Daws, Donny,
Bish and Maggsie and put in saving tackles.
After 10 minutes of good Cambridge pressure they knocked
on in midfield. All 15 of them stopped but Copsey was alive to the
advantage and charged forward, supported by big Jim and a few other
forwards who combined to put Daws into the corner for a great team
try. 13 - 40.
Jersey were rampant: Stevie, Charlie and Donny were all
stopped just a yard short of the try line, but the strain was
starting to show and a number of replacements were needed, in fact
all five were used and fitted in seamlessly. The machine rolled
Mylo took a knock and was down for a long time ( maybe
inspecting the turf ), but a couple of minutes later he was again
on the ground, this time over the Cambridge line following a
powerful drive from the Jersey forwards. Mikey did the honours. 13
Cambridge were now shell-shocked and with the game coming
to a close Tommy Turner put Mikey in for his now obligatory try,
despite having two men clinging to his back. He then got up, dusted
himself down, and kicked the conversion over from the touchline.
Superb. 13 - 54.
Man-of-the-match is a hard call, all 20 who played were
awesome, Mikey scoring over 20 points for the second week running,
but my 'Top Man' vote has to go to Thommo, the 'Guy' is on fire at
the moment: pace, power and precision.
It was a privilege to witness this performance and if
Jersey ever play better than this, I hope I am watching!
23 Mar 2023
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