A second win in as many pre-season outings for the Reds, although the home side were given a stern test by National One opponents Ampthill.
The scoreline was a contrast to the Reds’ 47-5 defeat of Coventry in their previous pre-season game, and the try count of 5-4 was also markedly different to the 7-1 tally against Cov.
A length-of-the-field counter-attack set up the platform for the home side’s third try after just three minutes. A five-metres scrum was awarded, for which the Reds’ pack enjoyed a slight ‘nudge’ over the opposing eight, enabling Nick Haining to pick up from number eight and barge over.
Sam Katz added a straightforward conversion and was the creator of his side’s second try, gliding through a midfield gap and delaying his pass nicely to Ross Adair on the right wing. Adair still had work to do but cut inside powerfully to cross the line (14-0).
Wing Sam Baker got one back for Ampthill after good work by the visiting pack and a scoring pass from Steffanbut a pacy burst from the 22-metre line by hooker Jack Macfarlane brought a third Jersey try on the stroke of half-time.
The visitors had their best spell soon after the break with pressure leading to scores from Will Goodge and Sam Hanks, both taking scoring passes from Baker. Then Nick Campbell claimed Jersey’s fourth from close range after Kieran Hardy almost scored.
Both sides scored one further try – an Adair intercept for the Reds, and Joe Bercis for Ampthill in what turned out to be the final move of the match.
Reds’ Head Coach Harvey Biljon said:
“We were put under quite a bit of pressure and credit to Ampthill for that, but I was pleased with our response. We’ve got a lot of untested players and a game like this was what we needed – the result is secondary in these games.”
“We were looking at a big score after the early tries but we dug in and made it difficult for Jersey,” said Ampthill Head Coach Paul Turner. “We’ve not been together long and will definitely benefit from this game.”
JERSEY: Cuthbert; Adair, Robling, Eastwell, Lane; Katz, Dudley; McCarthy, Macfarlane, Armstrong, Voss, Phillips (c), Argyle, Doyle, Haining. Replacements used: Buckle, Thomas, Kerrod, Campbell, Freeman; Hardy, Watkins. Replacement not used: Spencer.
AMPTHILL: Lynch; Weightman, Hanks, Nawaqaliva, Baker; Jones, Calder; Sturgess, Ma’asi, Lutui, Gulliver, Walker, Molitika L, Bell, Molitika M. Replacements used: Fish, Beesley, Collins, Hehea, Bercis, Williams, Tarrant, Goodge, Wilson.
REFEREE: Christophe Ridley (RFU). Assistants: Roy Maybank, Andrew Pearce
Half Time: 21-5
Tries: Haining 3, Adair 12, 72, Macfarlane 39, Campbell 63
Conversions: Katz 3, 12, 40, 63, 72
Tries: Baker 27, Goodge 50, Hanks 53, Bercis 79
Con: Jones 50