After a trio of below-par displays at the tail end of 2022 and early in the new year, the Reds put down an impressive marker in Cornwall.
The win at the Mennaye Field was all the more notable as it was the first time in 10 visits that the Reds had secured maximum points on Cornish turf. The result became even more significant as news came through that leaders Ealing had been beaten at home by Coventry, trimming the Londoners’ lead over their Jersey chasers at the top of the Championship to a single point.
On a heavy pitch that had also hosted an amateur game the previous evening, former Jersey loanee Arwel Robson gave the hosts the lead with a penalty. The Reds hit back hard and worked good moves for a brace of tries by Jordan Holgate.
Garyn Smith’s interception and five more points from the boot of Robson helped the Pirates regain their lead, but the visitors moved ahead once more in the final action of the half. The ball was worked to Macauley Cook for the try (pictured top by Brian Tempest), with Russell Bennett adding the extras and Pirates lock Will Britton shown a yellow card for foul play in the build-up.
The Reds really made their one-man advantage count on the resumption, with a quick try from Will Brown as the wing rose to take a cross-kick from Bennett, and then hooker James Hadfield rumbling over.
Scrum-half Alex Schwarz gave the Pirates hope as he crossed for their third try, Robson adding the conversion, but a further yellow card for a late hit off the ball saw hooker Will Crane banished just beyond the hour, and during his absence Brown crossed again for the sixth Jersey try as the ball was worked rapidly wide after some forwards’ grunt, taking the wing to 10 league tries so far this season in nine games.
Although Tommy Wyatt, later named as the home side’s man-of-the-match, claimed a try with 12 minutes to go, a missed conversion meant the Reds remained more than a score clear and allowed the visitors to see out the game, with a late tilt at try number seven scuppered by a forward pass.
The Championship will now go on hold during February, with the Reds next league encounter coming on Saturday March 4th when they will host Caldy, who have won five of their last six matches. Before then the Championship Cup returns, and the Reds face a potential pool decider next Saturday when they host Ealing Trailfinders at Stade Santander International. Kick-off will be at 2pm, with the Calcutta Cup game between England and Scotland following on the big screens at 4.45pm.
CORNISH PIRATES: Carwyn Penny; Robin Wedlake, Garyn Smith, Joe Elderkin, Tommy Wyatt; Arwel Robson, Alex Schwarz; Marlen Walker, Will Crane (YC 62), Matt Johnson, Cory Teague, Will Britton (YC 40), Alex Everett, John Stevens (capt), Seb Nagle-Taylor.
Subs (used): Morgan Nelson, Olly Adkins, Harvey Beaton, Josh Williams, Will Gibson, Shae Tucker, Arthur Relton. Unused: Ali Stacey
JERSEY REDS: Brendan Owen; Ben Woollett, Alex McHenry, Jordan Holgate (Dan Barnes 71), (Will Brown (Tomi Lewis, 70); Russell Bennett, James Mitchell (James Elliott 70); Sam Grahamslaw (Greg McGrath 46), James Hadfield (Harry Doolan 79), Steve Longwell (Adam Nicol 70), Sean O’Connor, James Scott (Tom Everard 77), Macauley Cook, Lewis Wynne (capt) (Josh Gray 77), James Dun.
REFEREE: Dan Jones. Assistants: Charlie Gayther, Kevin Williams
Half Time: 13-17
Tries: Smith 28, Schwarz 49, Wyatt 68
Conversions: Robson 28, 49
Penalties: Robson 2, 35
Tries: Holgate 11, 14, Cook 39, Brown 41, 65, Hadfield 45
Conversions: Bennett 40, 45
18 May 2023
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