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Match Reports 2013-14

Jersey 27 Plymouth Albion 41

16/09/2013

Jersey 27 Plymouth Albion 41

A promising opening to Jersey's 2013/14 league campaign
culminated in an unhappy ending, writes Tom Innes.

Leading 15-13 at half-time against Plymouth Albion, and
stretching their lead to 21-13 soon after the break, the Islanders
conceded four tries in the final 25 minutes to their pacy
opponents, and ended up well beaten.

In the first part of a double-header line-up at Exeter's Sandy
Park, Jersey and Albion squared up in front of the Sky cameras on a
windy and at times rainy afternoon.

After Dan Mugford and Aaron Penberthy traded penalties, Jersey
claimed the opening try when a penalty was kicked to the corner and
a catch-and-drive lineout ended with number 8 Tom Brown claiming
the touch-down. Once again Albion replied in kind, with lock Ien
Ascroft-Leigh barging his way over and Mugford adding the extras to
put his side 8-10 in front.

The highlight of the first half for Jersey was a superb try
after 22 minutes, with the influential Nicky Griffiths linking well
with Fred Silcock to put Ed Dawson in for a try. This was enough to
give Jersey the lead at the break, even though Mugford added a
further penalty. Jersey had other chances to add to their points
total, and showed a willingness to try and gain tries from
penalties rather than go for goal, but were denied by Albion, whose
centre Pale Nonu may have been fortunate to escape a yellow card
for a knock-on that some officials might have ruled deliberate.
Nonu was a thorn in his opponents' side in the closing stages of
the half, twice releasing Lewis Warner for surging runs that came
close to adding to his side's try tally.

Jersey's margin was only two points, but things looked promising
given that the strong wind would be in their favour in the second
period. Penberthy, called up on the eve of the match when Niall
O'Connor was injured, had an excellent afternoon with the boot, and
twice stretched Jersey's lead after the break, the second kick
following a searing touch-finder from colleague Grant Pointer.

With the elements and the scoreboard against them, Albion needed
inspiration, and turned the match on its head with two tries in
three minutes. Jersey's tackling was inadequate on both occasions,
but credit also needs to be given for Plymouth's attacking zeal,
crowned with superb runs to the line by Tom Bowen and Chris
Elder.

The double blow could have destabilised Jersey, now trailing
21-27, but in fact the Island side responded with great
determination. Penberthy slotted another penalty when Albion's Rob
Langley committed a professional foul close to his try-line but was
saved from the sin-bin because the officials had been unable to
discern which Albion player offended. And Jersey's fly-half then
struck a howitzer from half-way to tie the scores with around 15
minutes remaining.

Langley may have been fortunate to stay on the field, and his
role as an impact substitute remained prominent. Firstly he crossed
for a try that restored Albion's lead and earned the Devonians a
try bonus point, and then he committed a dangerous tackle on Jersey
replacement Dave Felton that might have earned a red card, but
instead earned a yellow.

Jersey continued to press for a potentially trying score against
their 14-man opponents, but in what turned out to be their final
attack Mark Foster lost possession and the ball was seized by James
Shanahan. Plymouth's newly-appointed Player-Coach might have kicked
for touch to run down the clock, but instead he beat a man and
released Elder for a 70-metre dash to the line. The last-minute try
deprived Jersey of a losing bonus point, while Mugford's conversion
completed a perfect 7/7 afternoon with the boot for him.

Jersey travelled back to the Island without flanker Latu
Makaafi, who suffered a suspected broken jaw and was sent to a
nearby hospital. The Islanders will look to bounce back from the
defeat when they entertain Bedford at St Peter this Saturday, k-o
3pm.

Jersey: G Pointer, M Foster, D Locke, D Bishop (T
Cooper 51), E Dawson, A Penberthy, N Griffiths (J Dudley 78); S
McCarthy (T Fidler 76), E Taione (D Felton 69), D Young, N
Campbell, A Rae (capt), B Maidment (L Makaafi 54, D Markham 72), F
Silcock, T Brown. Sub not used: N Selway

Tries: Brown, Dawson
Con: Penberthy
Pens: Penberthy 5

Plymouth Albion: C Elder, T Bowen, T
Howley-Berridge, P Nonu (H Stevens 51), L Warner (J Shanahan 66), D
Mugford, P Rowley (R Cushion 48); D Morton (B Rogers 54), D
McGregor (G Evans 54), M Shields, I Ascroft-Leigh (R Langley 48 -
YC 75), B Beukeboom, S-M Stephen, E Grace (S Matavesi 57), R Oakley
(capt)

Tries: Ascroft-Leigh, Bowen, Elder 2, Langley
Cons: Mugford 5
Pens: Mugford 2

Referee: Simon Harding (RFU)

 

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