Coventry 13 Jersey 37
Jersey's players crowned a fantastic season with a focused and
determined display that delivered the win required to take the
National One title.
The result sealed a fourth promotion in five seasons for the
Islanders, who were cheered on by an estimated travelling support
of 400 people at Coventry's Butts Park Arena.
Coventry had some noisy backing of their own among the 1,600
crowd and started with a determination to force Jersey to postpone
their promotion ambitions by a week. The home team took the lead
through an early penalty as Jersey struggled to impose themselves
in the opening minutes.
The league leaders got their noses in front by the 11th minute
thanks to two penalties in as many minutes from Ross Broadfoot, and
after this the Jersey pack began to assert themselves and slowly
take control of the game. The territorial balance of the game
shifted and it seemed like James Copsey had scored the first try,
only for the referee to rule he had been held up.
A series of scrums near Cov's line provided the perfect platform
for Jersey to show their power and eventually as Nick Trower looked
to complete a push-over a penalty try was awarded instead,
converted by Broadfoot for a 13-3 lead after 35 minutes.
A silky passing move almost led to another try soon afterwards,
but the final pass by Mike Le Bourgeois to Glenn Bryce was ruled
forward, and the half finished with a second penalty for Mark
O'Connor of Coventry to reduce the arrears to 6-13.
Scoring first in the second half was Jersey's prime ambition,
and they attacked from the off, getting the try they needed within
two minutes when Nick Trower dummied his way over. 14 points may
not have been a winning lead, but it was a big step in the right
A 50:50 call about whether a ball was out of a ruck went against
Cov on 54 minutes, with flanker Alex Nash ruled to have played it
illegally and sin-binned, allowing Broadfoot to kick his third
14-man Cov competed gamely but the decisive score came on 63
minutes when a Donovan Sanders' charge-down fell to the supporting
Dai Bishop who scored easily. Broadfoot's conversion stretched his
team to 23 points clear and ended any real doubts about the
Perhaps the realisation of their achievement began to dawn on
the Jersey players who lost a little focus in the closing stages
amid multiple substitutions and cries of 'We are the Champions'
from travelling fans. This allowed Cov to score a well-worked try
through Spencer Sutherland, converted by O'Connor.
The final word was Jersey's. First of all Steve O'Brien raced
through and lofted an artful kick which was caught by Donovan
Sanders. The former Cov player couldn't quite reach the line, but
did so soon afterwards to register Jersey's fourth try and a bonus
The final whistle sounded soon afterwards to signal the start of
some serious celebrations for the Jersey squad and the travelling
supporters. The squad were welcomed back to Jersey at noon on
Sunday by a crowd of around 100 fans at Jersey Airport, but will be
'back to work' on Monday focusing on ending the campaign on a
winning note at home to Fylde this weekend.
Cenkos/ Comprop Jersey squad:
1. Dai Maddocks
2. Dave Felton
3. Ben Evans (James Gethings 79)
4. Nathan Hannay
5. Jim Brownrigg (Toby Clyde-Smith 70)
6. Jethro Rawling (Charlie Clyde-Smith 41)
7. Guy Thompson (Steve O'Brien 61)
8. Nick Trower
9. Dave McCormack (capt) (Brendan O'Brien 72)
10. Ross Broadfoot
11. Glenn Bryce
12. Donovan Sanders
13. Dai Bishop
14. James Copsey
15. Mike Le Bourgeois
Jersey's nearest rivals Ealing fought back to claim a 22-22 draw
at Fylde and had the satisfaction of winning the try-count, 4-3,
meaning they gained a bonus point. Ealing moved to 107 points,
eight behind the champions, while Fylde (100) were overtaken by
Blackheath (101), who gained their 10th successive bonus-point win
with a 38-27 victory at Birmingham Bees.
Why not come a chillout in the supporters marquee before the game, A fully stocked bar and food is available, seated and standing tables, on a first come first served basis and a great place to meet the Reds supporters.