A day of farewells at St Peter also saw a match that was one to forget for the majority of the 2,600 crowd, Jersey's largest home attendance of the season.
The Reds fell victim to a ruthless performance by Yorkshire Carnegie, which saw the Championship's third-ranked side cruise to a landslide win; fifth-placed Jersey dropped a place to sixth in the final table after a bonus-point win for London Welsh.
Jersey were led out by club captain Alex Rae, alongside his six-year-old son Ellis (pictured above) with Rae senior skippering the side for the last time before taking up a new role as the club's Forwards Coach. He succeeds Steve Boden, who was coaching Jersey for the last time, and there were also farewells to eight members of the Jersey match-day squad and a similar number of players not involved in the game. Referee Andrew Small was also bowing out, taking charge of his last competitive match after a career that encompassed almost 300 senior games, including 11 test matches.
The hosts could have scored first when Oli Evans set his centre partner Lewis Robling on a run through midfield, but the ball was lost around 10 metres out.
The deadlock was broken by an interception as Jersey pressed forward again. Carnegie centre Andy Forsyth picked off a pass and burst upfield. He was hauled down by Rich Lane after a lung-bursting chase, but good follow-up work by Jarad Williams saw the number 8 go over for the try.
It remained an even contest, briefly, until the visitors struck with a devastating double punch of two tries in three minutes soon after the second quarter started. Forsyth also set up the next try, breaking through and off-loading to Joel Hodgson, and then winger Oli Goss got the third, taking a scoring pass from Williams after Harry Leonard's break.
Jersey had their moments, but failed to capitalise thanks to several handling errors and the loss of possession at several lineouts. Rae's farewell was not going to script - the captain sustained a dislocated thumb after around 10 minutes and although he soldiered on until half-time, replaced by Rhys Owen, a late addition to the squad after Uili Kolo'ofa'i pulled out with a back injury and Tommy Spinks was promoted to the starting line-up.
The home side needed the first score of the second period, but when Carnegie fashioned a mauled try for Andy Saull seven minutes after the resumption, the result was assured. Jersey came close through Tom Howe, but the visitors finished strongly: Taylor Prell crossed in the corner and then after Jersey's Sami Fisilau was awarded a red card for dangerous use of the boot, replacement Christian Georgiou set up Pete Lucock in the final play.
Although disappointed at failing to score for the first time in four seasons of Championship rugby, Jersey did finish sixth in the table, their best effort at this level.
"This result doesn't define our season," said Head Coach Harvey Biljon. "The players have performed really well, but today they were running on empty. They were giving it everything, but we missed several opportunities through inaccuracy. It wasn't just our set-piece work, there were also some handling errors and inaccurate kicking among the backs.
"There was no lack of effort, but I think the emotion of the day affected our performance, and I have to give credit to Yorkshire Carnegie for a pretty effective performance."
Carnegie's Bryan Redpath said: "The boys performed exceptionally well; several players won't be with us next season, but they were determined to get the win and several of them put their hands up for play-off selection.
"We'd done our homework and set out to challenge Jersey in the set piece, and I'm really pleased how well we achieved that goal."
JERSEY: Adair; Howe, Evans, Robling, Lane; Penberthy (Cooke 57), Dudley (Fisilau 53 - RC 75); Woolmore (McCarthy 48), Selway (Garcia-Veiga 46), Kerrod (Herriott 53), Campbell (Markham 62), Phillips, Rae (c) (Owen h-t), Freeman, Spinks.
YORKSHIRE CARNEGIE: Hodgson; Goss (Georgiou 72), Forsyth (Stegmann 53), Lucock, Prell; Leonard, Green; Beech (Imiolek 62), Walker (c) (Graham 62), Hooper (Tideswell 10), Ryder (Schofield 58), Smith, Beck, Saull (Barnard 69), Williams.
REFEREE: Andrew Small (RFU)
Man-of-the-match (as chosen by match sponsor Lotherington's): Jarad Williams (Yorkshire Carnegie)
Half Time: 0-19
Tries: Williams 14, Hodgson 23, Goss 25, Saull 47, Prell 68, Lucock 80
Conversions: Leonard 14, 25
Picture by Sue Armes. More pictures will be available via the JRFC Facebook site
27 Jan 2023
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